EU Looks To Extend Copyright And Blank Media Levies

from the welfare-for-musicians dept

Over in Europe, it appears that the European Union's internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy has decided that it's high time Europe turns copyright from an incentive system (as it was designed) into a welfare system for musicians. Despite the fact that the UK wisely rejected copyright extension for performance rights, McCreevy thinks that performance rights EU-wide should be extended from 50 years to 90 years.

It's important to be entirely clear here: this is a total and complete bastardization of copyright law. Copyright law was intended to grant the creator of content a deal: you create new content and we will give you a limited time monopoly on the rights to that content before passing it on to the public domain, from which everyone can benefit. It was designed as an incentive system, providing a gov't backed monopoly in exchange for the creation of content. By creating content and accepting that deal, musicians clearly said that it was a reasonable deal. To later go back and change the terms for content already created and extend copyright makes no sense and is violating the contract made with the public. You can't newly incent someone to create content that they already created 50 years ago. Thus, the only reason to extend copyright is if you believe that it's really a welfare system for musicians. If that's the case, then we should be explicit about it, and present it that way, rather than calling it copyright.

That's not all that McCreevy has up his sleeve either. He's also apparently a huge fan of copyright levies that add taxes to any blank media for the sake of reimbursing musicians just in case you happen to use that blank media to record unauthorized material. It's effectively a you must be a criminal tax. So, basically, McCreevy's plan is to treat all consumers as criminals, forcing them to cough up extra money for musicians, while also setting up a welfare system for musicians hidden in the copyright system. Musicians must love him, but it's a bit ridiculous for him to claim these proposals make sense because "copyright protection for Europe's performers represents a moral right to control the use of their work and earn a living from their performances". Does Mr. McCreevy earn a living from something he did 50 years ago? Does Mr. McCreevy get a cut every time a consumer buys something just in case they commit a crime?

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  1. identicon
    SteveD, 15 Feb 2008 @ 6:20am

    Why do Publishing rights last so long?

    On the one hand I agree with Mike; the fact that a lot of recording artists live off royalties rather then saving for pensions does not entitle them to free welfare.

    On the other hand, why is the length of time for muscians and writers so different? Don't they all have a hand in the creative process? Maybe not an equal share I grant you, but thats why writers get more of the cut from sales.

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