Wednesday, May 16, 2007

BPI MTV please them, please them

The Commons Select Committee has considered the pleas of the likes of Cliff Richard, and come out in favour of extending the period of copyright in sound recordings. It's a moral decision:

The House of Commons culture committee said people had a "moral right" to keep control of their creations while alive.

The copyright term for sound recordings should be extended to at least 70 years, the committee recommended.

Which is all well and good, but since most of the rights in recordings sit with companies rather than the people who actually did the work, we're not quite sure the Committee is really talking about the moral rights of the workers at all. Because that would mean, surely, taking the copyrights away from EMI and Sony and giving them back to the artists.

This has little to do with morality, and much more to do with business, and the hand of copyright holders sitting on the shoulders of the Committee.

To be fair, Paul Farrelly, Mike Hall, Rosemary McKenna and Alan Price haven't taken anything from the copyright-owning industry. And Alan Keen's participation in a cricket team which receives some money from Microsoft isn't probably going to sway him overmuch.

Phil Davies, though, has been enjoying trips to the horse races at the expense of Channel 4 for a couple of years and, although Channel 4 don't have much direct interest in the copyright status of 1950s records, its position as a major publisher of copyright material makes one wonder if an MP supposedly taking an independent view on copyright questions should also be taking their charabanc trips to Cheltenham.

Even more curiously, Janet Anderson and Nigel Evans both enjoyed a jolly to Copenhagen for the MTV Awards, paid for by MTV. Viacom, MTV's parent, has a lot of opinions about what should and shouldn't be allowed to happen to copyright material.

Helen Southworth, Adrian Sanders and committee chair John Whittingdale all had a lovely night out at the BPI Awards this year, paid for by the BPI and, indirectly, through the BPI, by the record companies. And who holds the largest amount of copyrights that are due to expire under the fifty year rule? What a strange coincidence - it's the BPI companies.

More than half the committee, including the chair, has been given recent treats by the copyright-owning industry. Now, it's giving something back. What a virtuous circle that is, providing you ignore the slightly unsavoury stink of MPs guzzling record company's drinkies before deciding on issues that directly affect them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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