by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jul 25th 2007 5:53pm
Last December, the UK gov't had some folks draw up the so-called "Gowers Report" looking at the question of copyright extension. While the report wasn't great, it certainly did recommend against copyright extension. It appears that the folks in the gov't saw through the online petition many dead musicians signed asking the gov't to ignore the report. That is, the UK gov't has in fact rejected the idea of extending copyrights for performance royalties on songs, so that those recorded 50 years ago no longer have to pay the performers (though, they do still have to pay the songwriters, who have longer copyright protection). Some musicians are up in arms about this, but that's only because they seem to think that copyright is a type of welfare system to support artists based on a single performance they did 50 years ago. It's not. Copyright's sole purpose is to create incentives to have that content created. If the content was created, then clearly the deal that the copyright offered was sufficient. Extending the deal afterwards makes no sense and goes against the very idea of copyright. It's saying that a song that was performed and recorded 50 years ago needs new incentives to have been performed and recorded 50 years ago. It's nice to see (for one of the first times) a gov't finally reject that argument.
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