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. identicon
    Liberty Dave, 26 Jan 2007 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: copyright is your right

    You claim that selling a chair is clear because everyone knows what the deal is. But selling music isn't because you don't like copyright law that says copyright is only for a limited time

    Mike, what are you talking about? You're twisting my words
    because I've never stated that selling music isn't clear. It's very clear. When you buy music you own the music, but you're not allowed to use it comercially without the author's consent. The author can be the record company, the author him/herself, or something else. Selling a chair is also very clear. When you buy the chair you own it. You can use it for whatever you want, however you want. You most likely can't duplicate it and sell it as your own, though, that would be stealing.

    However, everyone knows copyright law when the enter into a content transaction as well. They KNOW that they lose copyright after a certain time.

    True. And I disagree with the current law. Why should they lose their rights to control their content just because a certain time has passed? I know you've answered this question, and I disagree with your answer. I don't think they should lose that right.

    Basically, all you are saying is that it's okay to enter into a transaction when YOU like the terms, but when you don't like the terms, suddenly it's not fair.

    Um, no Mike, that's not really what I'm saying. Here's what I'm saying, in the simplest of terms: I disagree with copyright law as it stands if it limits someone's right to profit from their music after a certain amount of time has passed. I think that's pretty clear. I'm not going to talk about other products or industries, just music to keep the conversation concise for now.

    That's not very compelling.

    Ok, sorry you feel that way.

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