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
    misanthropic humanist, 26 Jan 2007 @ 12:17pm

    another misunderstanding

    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.

    Then you agree with copyright law as it stands since the contingent is not fulfilled. Once a copyright has expired it does not "limit someones right to profit from their music". It simply ceases to grant them a state sanctioned monopoly under the protection of law. If it were not for copyright then they never would have held that right in the first place. Fortunately they do not depend on copyright law to continue to make a profit if they are so able, although copyright significantly aides them, which was its intention.

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