Thursday, May 18, 2006


It's a bit of a sad tale: Largely-forgotten 60s act Five Day Rain almost have a hit:

GUITARIST Rick Sharpe has missed out on earning an estimated £100,000 from a forgotten album which has been pirated and put on the internet.

Master tapes of Five Day Rain - a 1969 LP by his band of the same name - were thought to have been stolen from a studio.

But they surfaced in South America where the record has been pirated.

It has also been on more than 50 websites, played on radio worldwide, and sold around 100,000 copies.

Hang about a minute, though - if it's been "put on the internet" how has it sold 100,000 copies? This sounds like straight theft and a simple breach of copyright to us, and it's disappointing the Mirror is trying to blame the internet for that.

More to the point, is it the piracy which has cost Sharpe a hundred grand? If the album hadn't been circulating in its samizdat form, it wouldn't have been circulating at all - what's cost Sharpe his money isn't someone stealing the record and releasing it, but the record label who owns it allowing something for which there is clearly huge worldwide demand to become unavailable. This story is the flipside to Cliff's plea for mechanical copyright protection extension: it won't do many artists any good, as the records belong to the labels, and the labels - through a mixture of can'ts and won'ts - don't do anything with the recordings.

If Sharpe can track down the people who've released this album, we wish him luck getting his money. But on the upside, he's at least got solid market research to argue for a proper re-release.

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