Copyright Is Not A Welfare System For Musicians

from the please-explain dept

As the battle over copyright term extension is still going on in the UK, the Register has an interview with a former general manager of Motown, talking about how those in favor of extending the length of performance rights screwed up because they had successful musicians like Cliff Richard as the figurehead for the movement, leading people to question why a successful musician needs any more money. Instead, he points out that they should have focused on the studio musicians or less well known players where "500 quid a year to them that's a significant amount of money." Of course, that bases the entire argument on the idea that copyright is some sort of welfare program for content creators. It's not. It's very clearly laid out purpose is simply to put in place the incentives for creation of new content. The content that was created 50 years ago does not need any more incentive to be created. Yes, additional money to these musicians probably would be nice for them, but copyright isn't designed as a system to support musicians. They did this work 50 years ago. They got paid then, and they've been paid for it for 50 years, as the law stated. It was enough incentive for them back then -- and it's one of the few jobs in the world where you get paid for work you did 50 years ago. If we want to create a welfare system for musicians, that's a different discussion -- but don't try to hide a welfare system in copyright.

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 26 Jan 2007 @ 11:51am

    Re: Copyright does not apply to chairs

    That's a bit of a stretch, Mike. You must be laughing when you type this stuff just to get some responses. I don't think you mean it.

    How is it a stretch? I mean every word I say.

    Should every musician need to pay whoever came up with each musical note? Each combination of a musical note?

    If we are to just focus on music, then where is the limit?

    Last time I checked, there's no shortage of music in the world.
    So I don't think anything would guarantee "no creativity.

    And all of that music uses notes and combinations of notes that were originally created by someone else. By your reasoning, they should pay for each note and each sound. That doesn't make any sense.

    Chairs are a physical object. Music is an intellectual property.
    The terms of sale are different.

    Oh really? Yes, the ARE DIFFERENT. That's why I find it hilarious that you find it's okay for the terms to be different in that way, but you freak out when someone says the terms should be different on length.

    They ARE DIFFERENT. Exactly. And that's why we LIMIT the length. Because of the differences. With the chair, the term is until I sell the chair. With copyright, they realized that might not make sense, so they said "until the end of copyright."

    Why do you insist that the two types of property are different with one breath, and then insist that intellectual property must be treated like property (you own it, you get paid for it) with the next breath?

    If you buy a song, the creator is promised a percentage of the sale. You can always write your own song if the idea troubles you.

    Yes, but that song will use notes from other artists, and I'd be ripping them off by your logic.

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