Thursday, July 17, 2008

EU hand rich rockers extra pension

The long campaign to extend copyright in recordings looks to have scored a major victory: The European Commission has recommended extending the copyright to 95 years.

Well, Cliff will be happy, anyway.

The proposals were unveiled by European Commission Single Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy.

"A 95-year term would bridge the income gap that performers face when they turn 70, just as their early performances recorded in their 20s would lose protection," his scheme said.

Oh, really?

Feargal Sharkey echoes the sentiment:
"I am especially pleased that the announcement focuses on the 'invisible' members of our industry - the musicians, engineers and session players whose names are hidden away in the liner notes and credits.

"It is they, and not just 'featured' artists and record labels, who could derive real benefits from this move - and at a time in life when their earning power would be severely diminished."

As we've said before, if Cliff and U2 and Fergal were really worried about pensionable musicians who can't make ends meet, they could have come up with a proposal that would actually help them, rather than offer a vague chance of a small payment while making those featured artists (and record companies) much, much wealthier. After all, the reason why the less well-known participants on records are struggling in later life is because they tend not to own the rights in recordings of their own work.

There is no intellectual defence of a ninety-five year copyright period on anything. Time for a 'fifty is enough' campaign?


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't really believe that Mr Sharkey and his various business associates get away with spreading this "oh it's for all the little people" lie over and over again.

As good as 50's plenty would be, I think it's about time that people who work in other industries should start demanding pay for work they done over fifty years ago.

These people show a distinct lack of knowledge of the reason copyright exists in the first placec

Anonymous said...

Cant they just get jobs? Everyone else does. Same with footballers - 'Ooh its only a short career they have to make as much as possible' Well yes, but that achilles injury that ends your career at 30 isnt going to stop you working in an office is it? Actually, replace office with McDonalds...

anon#1 again said...

Wouldn't it be great if footballers copyrighted specific things? "Oh look! I can claim some royalties fifty years after my last goal because somebody just scored a goal using my utterly uniqueoverhead nutmeg from 20 yards"

There is a certain (if perhaps very limited and admittedly not particularly accurate) parallel to be seen between football and music industries. Less well earning supporting players much like less well earning session musicians are forced later in life to do things like teach, manage, etc. And yet I can't see it at the other end of the scale. I mean, by the music industry's standards, wouldn't certain top players be justified in asking for a cut of the gate every week from a team they made famous, more popular or indeed became synonymous with. I can't quite imagine Pelé protesting that Santos aren't giving him what he deserves for all the work he put in and yet it is true that his skills and fame still benefit the club more than 30 years after he left. More significantly, Lonnie Donegan's family can protest parliament about copyright (partly for a sped-up middle class cover of a 1930s blues song written by a man who lived in absolute poverty and who Donegan's record company didn't even have the decency to credit on the record) and be listened to but can you imagine if Calum Best asked for a cut of the Manchester United shirt sales? No. Not a single person would accept such a claim and he'd be laughed at and told to get lost.

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