Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Even the dead support copyright extension

Back before Christmas, you might recall a large advert - paid for by copyright body PPL - signed by artists calling for the government to extend copyright terms.

Now, it turns out, amongst the impressive-sounding list of signatories were dead people.

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that the ad was fine, on the basis that the dead people had been co-opted by their estates, but this seems a little bit sanguine about this - if someone is signing a call for copyright extension on behalf of the deceased, shouldn't there at least be some indication this is an "on behalf of" co-option of the corpse?

Even beyond the general principle, since extending copyright for a longer period is going to have a direct impact on those who benefit from musician's estates, there's a strong argument that while the widows or children might be signing their loved one's name under the impression it's what he would have wanted, there's surely room for the possibility they're signing with their own interests paramount. Nothing wrong with feathering your own nest, but shouldn't an honest advert admit that potential motivation?