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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Graham Bradshaw Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay? (17) RE: Who goes out of copyright on Hogmanay? 19 Dec 08

I must say that I have mixed feelings about all of this.

On the one hand, as a creator of music (both as a musician and as a record company), I can't see why when I have paid in money and creative effort to record some music, it should not remain in my ownership indefinitely. I fully sympathise with Sir Cliff and the surviving Beatles et al who are about to see all their copyrights evaporate. The consequence of this is that all those songs suddenly turn up on a plethora of compilations at stupidly cheap prices, the upshot being that nobody is going to buy the originals any longer. Massive loss of revenue.

On the other hand, as a compiler of historical recordings, it is great to be able to use tracks and not have to pay for licences. This makes projects that would not have been commercially viable, suddenly worth doing, and of course it brings to life some fabulous old music that would otherwise have been left to fester in a vault somewhere.

A typical dichotomy. But here's a radical thought...

Why can't ALL copyrights exist in perpituity for the creator and then their beneficiaries, and only pass into the 'public domain' when there are no remaining beneficiaries? It would be quite easy to devise a system of a statutory rate for licences in the case of very old recordings (ie after the original creator has died), which could be set at quite a low rate so as not to be prohibitive to archive compilers. It should be possible to sort out a system that keeps everybody happy.

In effect, the existing system is a bit like leasehold as against freehold. You buy a house, but you are only allowed to own it for x number of years, and then you have to give it back, and the thing you paid for is not yours anymore. I think this is morally wrong, and all property (including intellectual property) should be definitely FREEHOLD.

Rant over.

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