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Singing The Same Song: 1962 Article Demands Stricter Copyright To Stop Jukebox Loophole

from the sound-familiar? dept

With the news of the latest push by the RIAA to close the "radio loophole" to squeeze more money out of their music, it's worth noting that this is really nothing new. The industry has been doing it for ages. Thanks to Tim Lee and Matthew Yglesias for pointing to an article from 1962 where (oh no!) the industry was claiming that copyright law needed to be strengthened to deal with greedy business owners who weren't paying their fair share every time their jukeboxes played a song. Apparently there was something of a "jukebox exception" in royalty rates, where jukebox owners only needed to pay for the records they bought, and not each time they were played. Luckily, the law was changed in 1976, allowing the recording industry to survive. Otherwise, it surely would have perished.

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  1. identicon
    Don, 25 May 2007 @ 9:02am

    Another point not often brought up is that the economic balance has shifted. Back in the early days (say the 50's and 60's) there was a relatively small legion of bands and musicians competing for an rapidly growing market of consumers. Now that music is "big business" there are tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of artists competing for a relatively fixed consumer base (with a correspondingly relatively fixed amount of disposable income). If, for example, Mary Wilson of the Supremes can't live off of the welfare system the are continually trying to turn copyright into because I instead choose to spend my money on someone like Disturbed, or let's say even Carlos Santana, who are actively working for their livings, that's her problem.

    The entertainment industry also needs to understand they aren't just competing amongst themselves, but with other industries as well. I read somewhere that food prices have risen 4% in the past month. And gas has risen over $1 since the election in November. That's an extra $15 every two weeks the oil companies are getting of my money. $15? Hey isn't that the price of a CD? I could be buying an extra CD every two weeks if the oil companies weren't gouging the consumers at the pumps.

    And I for one (and most people I know as well) are not going to work lots of overtime to earn that money back to spend on someone who wants to live off of work they did 30 years ago (or whom merely can't compete in the marketplace anymore). There's no law saying you get the privilege of making a living doing what you like to do. Try getting a job at Walmart. I can guarantee most of the people working their aren't doing so for the sheer pleasure of it.

    Here's an idea: Maybe the RIAA should sue Exxon for taking money away from them by jacking their prices. Now that would be amusing.

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