Monday, November 27, 2006

Cliff and Hucknall sent packing

The review of copyright in recordings has recommended that the current length - fifty years - be preserved, rejecting calls from record companies, Cliff Richard and Mick Hucknall for a 95 year period of protection.

Andrew Gowers, who investigated the question of extending copyright on behalf of the Treasury, has found no reason to change the rules.

Of course, we're now in for a period of a bruised BPI licking its wounds and pouting, although it seems they've got Daily Telegraph writers doing that on their behalf to start with:

Music journalist Neil McCormack told BBC Radio Five Live it was a blow to the industry.

"This was set before the advent, the big boom of rock and roll. The boom in popular culture which has led to a whole vast number of people making their living from these royalties.

"You can make a record in 1955 and have been getting royalties... been living on that and suddenly they're gone."

Of course, Neil will be especially worried about how he'll survive come 2056 when the cash from his Bono-endorsed People Are Trying To Kill Me runs out. McCormack has long been a supporter of the idea that people should earn a century of cash from an afternoon's work, pushing the case as far back as August 2004, so his moaning now common sense has prevailed is unsurprising.

He fails, you note, to name a single artist who is "making their living" from recordings made in 1955 - because, of course, there aren't any. Most of the recordings from this era are the property of record labels, those stars big enough to have managed to have wrested control back are like Cliff Richard - who might make money from them, but is hardly relying on the Move It royalty cheque before he can go shopping down the Lidl this week, is he?

Throughout, the arguments made by the pro-extension lobby have been - at best - spurious. Had they perhaps found a single singer who was enjoying an old age funded purely on the work he did in a recording studio in the 1950s, they might have had a stronger case. But there's nobody who fits that description.

They've been seen through by Andrew Gowers.


acb said...

I think the most likely outcome is that, after a stern phone call from Washington, the government will do an about-face and push on with copyright extension. A lot of US multinationals stand to lose a lot here, and we are, after all, a US client-state. (Who operates our much-vaunted Trident missiles, for one?)

Anonymous said...

am i the only one seeing the real TERROR here?? CLIFF RICHARD AND MICK HUCKNALL BELIEVE THEY WILL STILL BE ALIVE AND COLLECTING ROYALTIES AFTER 95 YEARS OF RECORDING!!!! Surely their life expectancy is a crime against humanity?

Chris Brown said...

Funny that we should see Neil McCormack cropping up, as he's meant to be such good mates with Bono - I remember Paul McGuinnes writing to the Economist a couple of years ago for the same reason. It's almost as if U2 are in favour of this but don't want to publicly associate themselves with it. I wonder why.

By the way, any record from 1955 is already out of copyright.

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