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

Richard, you have misunderstood what I was saying. I certainly DO understand and have absorbed what was being said. I am fully aware of what the various copyrights are, and their terms as currently enshrined in law.

The point I was making was one of principle and ownership. In reality, none of this is really an issue once the owner of the copyright dies (other than for their beneficiaries).

It seems to me that ownership is ownership, and whatever commodity we are talking about, it should be mine to pass down from generation to generation (although the Government will tax the hell out of it in the process!).

You are quite right that ownership of the physical recording (ie the tape) is still mine. But that is not worth anything if Joe Bloggs can copy the song from an existing record or CD etc and issue it as a new recording without paying any sort of licence or royalty. OK, the composer will still get his mechanicals, and performing royalties (if it is played in public), but the poor old producer (who may be a corporation but just as likely a musician) who funded the recording suddenly gets nothing.

I don't have a personal axe to grind, because none of my copyrights in sound recordings are likely to be worth very much, and I benefit from the existing system by being able to use out-of-copyright sound recordings for free. But I still think it is morally wrong.

Another alternative to the current arrangements is that copyrights lapse upon death (ie benficiaries don't get anything). At least that would keep all those 50s musos happy in their old age. However, what about the Beatles? 2/4s of the copyright would now be in the Public Domain and 2/4s wouldn't. Tricky to say the least.

The current proposals to extend the copyright in the sound recording to 70 or 95 or life plus something seems sensible, as then there will be some sort of parity with composers rights, and the people concerned will get their income for the rest of their lives, after which I don't suppose they will be too worried!!

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