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20-Year Copyright Extensions Coming To Europe 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the hoarding-acorns-for-the-long-winter dept.
unlametheweak points out a story at Ars Technica which begins: "After a UK government-led commission said that the current 50-year term for musical copyrights was fine, and the government last year publicly agreed that there was no need to extend the term, culture minister Andy Burnham yesterday made the logical follow-up announcement that yes, the government would now push for a 20-year extension on copyright. Turns out, it's the moral thing to do. Actually, by framing the issue as a 'moral case,' Burnham gets to sidestep the entire issue of logic. Critics have already begun to charge that he is ignoring actual evidence and the well-regarded conclusions of the Gowers Report (PDF), not to mention previous government policy. But when the issue becomes a moral one and the livelihood of aging performers is at stake, it's suddenly easier to avoid cost/benefit analysis."
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20-Year Copyright Extensions Coming To Europe

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  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:31PM (#26104465) Journal

    Does Europe have their own version of Steamboat Willy?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:33PM (#26104493)

      Yes, It's called Cliff Richard

    • by ciderVisor (1318765) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:39PM (#26104553)

      Does Europe have their own version of Steamboat Willy?

      Yeah, over here it's called Syphilis.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:46PM (#26104593)

      Does Europe have their own version of Steamboat Willy?

      The thing I don't get is reference to Europe in the summary and the headline.

      Yes, UK is part of Europe (though most of us on the continent think them as barely Europeans and as far as I have understood they think the same way) but in this world situation saying that something is coming to Europe would imply that EU is now doing something.

      And well, there has been all kinds of suggestions (that haven't passed) about extending copyright in EU too (such as extending it to 95 years) but as far as I understood from TFA this has nothing to do with them...

      • It's kind of convenient. In a random town a kid concentrates sunlight with a magnifying glass and you can claim the headline "Solar Power Coming To America".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aliquis (678370)

          And it works great for any group of people! All animal right activists are violent, all germans are nazis, all russians are alcoholics, everyone who votes on bush are stupid, americans are fat, muslims are terrorists and so on so on, it's great because that way you don't have to learn to know anyone!

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Opportunist (166417)

            Hey, hey, Russians are not alcoholics. The Finns are, the Russkies are commies!

            Don't you younguns learn anything in school these days?

      • Re:I don't get it... (Score:5, Informative)

        by mqduck (232646) <`mqduck' `at' `mqduck.net'> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:05PM (#26105233)

        Sigh. Starting at paragraph 6, halfway down the page: "In any event, a push for term extension is being made across Europe. While the UK says it will work to extend musical copyright from 50 to 70 years, the European Union is considering a plan (backed by Commissioner Charlie McCreevy) to extend musical copyrights to 95 years."

    • 1960s rock? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:08PM (#26105675)

      In the next decade, a number of extremely profitable back catalogues of 1960s UK music groups would be going out of copyright without an extension: at least the early works of the Beatles, Cliff Richard, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, The Kinks, The Who, etc.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @06:34PM (#26106689)
        Nope. A VERY misleading article.

        Conventional copyrights for printed works (c)... expire according to a "death plus" rule. In the UK, they used to expire at "death plus fifty years", and were then extended to "death plus seventy years" to harmonise with the US and with some other parts of the EU. For those cases, "twenty-year extensions" came to Europe a while back.

        Online sources tend to give the impression that musical scores and songwriting are included in the "literary" rule, and I don't have any reason to believe that that's wrong. Anyhows I haven't seen anyone in the UK complaining about songwriting copyright terms.

        What HAS been discussed in the UK for the last few years, amidst talk of things being unfair, is the separate recording copyrights issue (p) ... Unlike conventional copyrights, recording copyrights in the UK are (AFIK) currently set to a simple fifty years from the date of the recording.

        This means that if you were a recording artist in the 1960's, and you didn't write your own songs, or if you were a member of a band, and your name wasn't listed as a songwriter on the tracks you played on, then your payments for those tracks being played or sold are about to stop dead.

        So David Bowie's going to be fine, and the members of the the Kinks, the Who, the Rolling Stones etc who have songwriting credits are going to be fine. All the songs stay in copyright.

        But the other band members who didn't get their names listed as co-writers are going to find their performance payments stopping. The people who're most pissed off are likely to be the band members who contributed a significant part of classic tracks - a key guitar solo or bassline intro, f'rinstance - but were never listed as songwriters. Up until now, they've been getting the performance payments. On expiry, they're no longer going to own the rights to their voices or to their playing on those recordings.

    • by Simonetta (207550) on Sunday December 14, 2008 @10:08AM (#26110769)

      When you buy a car and don't have all the money at once, you get a loan and you pay it off in small amounts at regularly scheduled intervals. WHEN you buy the car, the number of intervals and the amount of money that you are spending for the car is fixed. You and the seller agree on a price. That price is the number of car payments that you are going to make. When you have finished making all those payments, you own the car.

          If, right before your last scheduled payment, the seller says that you must now make ANOTHER 20 or 30 payments in order to own the car, then he is stealing your money by breaking the legal sales contract. Which said X number of payments for ownership of the car.

          Copyright works the same way. The owner of the copyright gets fixed payments for a fixed number of years for allowing the 'property' to be used. After that period of time, the 'property' passes into the public domain, where no one has to pay the copyright owner for using the 'property'.

          By changing the number of years that an item is in copyright, the lawmakers are breaking a legal contract between the public and the copyright owner. They are stealing money from the public and giving it to the (what is supposed to be the former) copyright owner. They are stealing the public domain.

          This often happens after the copyright owners give money to the people who are changing the law. They are bribing the lawmakers to get the lawmakers to give public resources (the intellectual property public domain) to them. They, the copyright owners who bribe and the lawmakers who take these bribes, should both be sent to prison.

  • Good (Score:5, Funny)

    by funkatron (912521) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:33PM (#26104487)
    Anything that means that Cliff Richard and Paul McCartney don't have to release more christmas songs to get money should be welcomed.
    • by jimicus (737525)

      Because God knows both Cliff and Paul could do with all the income they can get in their autumn years.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Because God knows both Cliff and Paul could do with all the income they can get in their autumn years.

        Paul McCartney is worth $1.5 billion. I don't think he'd be hurting one bit if he never released another Christmas album -- ever.

  • by Samschnooks (1415697) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:33PM (#26104491)

    * The majority of performers could gain as little as 50 cents per year from sales related to the proposed extension, set against as much as â4m going to each major record label

    I own stock in music labels you insenstive clod. Musicians get all the hotties, even when they're poor! We fat cats are, well fat and ugly, we need the money to get laid! Geeze!

    * The Directive threatens to actually decrease the amount performers receive in airplay royalties in their lifetime, as payments are transferred from artists at the beginning of their careers to the estates of dead performers

    Keith Richards has to make a living while he's still animate.

    * The proposal to set up a fund for session musicians (who otherwise would not benefit from the term extension at all, because of the contracts they originally signed with record labels) is low on detail. Thereâ(TM)s a real risk that the small amount record labels are compelled to set aside for this fund will be swallowed by admin costs before it gets to musicians.

    Secretaries have to support the illegitimate children that were fathered by the musicians they slept with when they were young and pretty. Think of the children this law would save! Just, think of the children!

    See, there is a moral reason for this law!

    • by aliquis (678370)

      On the other hands if the artists are stupid enough to sign up on a contract that bad and don't try to go alone or start up something together with better benefits for them what's the problem?

      I'm so much more likely to pay VNV Nation $2 for downloading their album than paying my local store $20 for the media which they bought from Metropolis Records which in the end pay VNV Nation whatever amount.

      I understand that the huge companies want my money, but if they artists and law enforcement think that they can

      • On the other hands if the artists are stupid enough to sign up on a contract that bad and don't try to go alone or start up something together with better benefits for them what's the problem?

        That's the thing, being a good musician does not usually equate into financial or business acumen. Specialization of labour (or division of labour) is productive and advantageous for a business but not for the labourer. Considering the fact that (in the past at least, though things may be changing somewhat now) the music conglomerates had a virtual monopoly on success and could afford to create and manipulate artists with the promise of becoming rich.

      • it is indeed possible these days to be successful while remaining relatively independent, but prior to online music downloads being embraced by mainstream society, musicians pretty much had no choice but to sign with a record label.

        say you want to remain independent, how would you promote your music? how would you distribute your music? how would you get tour support? unless you have a rich uncle willing to loan you tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars upfront, you'll never get your music career off the gr

  • How sad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:34PM (#26104505)

    How sad. I wonder why I bothered spending the time to put a detailed comment into Gowers, if the government was just going to ignore the outcome anyway (and having agreed with it at that!). This is hardly the way to encourage the people to contribute to their "democracy".

    • Re:How sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:54PM (#26104653)

      You are exactly right, your time would have been better put towards something you enjoy or benefit from in some way. To be sure, no government in history -- democracy or otherwise -- has ever significantly, permanently, and willingly reduced its level of power or revenue. Governments only get bigger, more powerful, and more expensive over their lifetimes, and if history is any indication, this will always be the case. The only things which can cause a government to reduce its level of power are (1) war, or (2) economic collapse -- neither of which are desirable from either perspective (the ruled or the ruler).

      So what's in that for those of us who would prefer a government strictly limited in power and revenue? Absolutely nothing. Personally, I have come to the conclusion that life is too short to get hung up on something that will never happen. That's why I simply don't play the game -- after all, THEY are the ones who want to control me, not the other way around. I don't want to control anybody, so why would I participate in a game where the prize is control (the special "right" to employ coercion as your means) over others?

      All we can do is keep a low profile and try to enjoy the limited time we have on this planet, while the power-hungry fight it out among themselves.

      • That's why we should eliminate the need for a government (or more exactly: for a small group of humans that decide for a large group) at all. Look at metagovernment.org [metagovernment.org] for my favorite solution, until I start my own advanced direct government system.

        • by Dunbal (464142)

          That's why we should eliminate the need for a government

                There's no "need" for government. It is imposed on a population. Remember the old saying: "Political power grows from the barrel of a gun". Your metagovernment world collapses the minute someone with a gun turns off the servers and starts telling people what to do. That is reality.

      • Riots in the streets and utter mayhem can result from too much "control". The EU is already straining and fraying at the edges as enough anti-globalist, anarchist, and nationalist pressures are attempted to be pushed aside foo far and too fast.

        Those who attempt to control everything often end up controlling nothing at all.

      • by lixee (863589)
        Should I quote Plato or Burke? Complacency is NOT a good thing. And neither is cynicism. The stakes are way too high.
        • Complacency is NOT a good thing

          Perhaps, but neither is banging your head against a wall.

          And neither is cynicism.

          And often times reality is not a good thing. One can never really control the ebb and flow of oceans, but try to surf towards calmer waters. Revolutions usually end in violence, but sometimes small gestures of defiance can dampen the waves.

      • Re:How sad (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:31PM (#26105831) Journal

        To be sure, no government in history -- democracy or otherwise -- has ever significantly, permanently, and willingly reduced its level of power or revenue.

        Nice fantasy world you have depicted there AC. I guess in that world the decision to ratify the woman's suffrage amendment wasn't a government run by men giving up power? You believe it was forced at gunpoint by the women?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Haeleth (414428)

        To be sure, no government in history -- democracy or otherwise -- has ever significantly, permanently, and willingly reduced its level of power or revenue.

        So... when King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, once the absolute ruler of Bhutan, unilaterally and voluntarily decided to set up a democratic system of government, and then abdicated ... that somehow didn't count as a government significantly, permanently, and willingly reducing its level of power?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The only things which can cause a government to reduce its level of power are (1) war, or (2) economic collapse

        A little thought shows this to be false. You have the example of a whole bunch of countries in Eastern Europe which gave up enormous amounts of power without either a war or an economic collapse to drive it.

      • Re:How sad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by laddiebuck (868690) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @06:07PM (#26106475)
        Never, ever in history. Except perhaps just recently in the very country we are discussing, when Gordon Brown came to power. In his first act as prime minister, he transferred several significant powers [telegraph.co.uk] to the Commons.

        Why don't you, especially as an American, stop the right-wing scaremongering over the politics of a country which you have no more intimate an understanding of than your daily newspaper? Instead you could work on grass-roots campaigns, perhaps get involved in politics, or a number of other constructive things you could do if you stopped assuming that all government is bad and unfixable.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Repossessed (1117929)

          stop the right-wing scaremongering

          A) Is this the same prime minister who made it illegal to not carry an ID?

          B) This is left wing scare mongering.

  • Melancholy Elephants (Score:5, Interesting)

    by C3ntaur (642283) <centaur.netmagic@net> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:35PM (#26104511) Journal
    Anyone not convinced of the harm excessive copyright does to society should read Spider Robinson's Melancholy Elephants [spiderrobinson.com]. It's truly saddening to see the direction all this stuff is going.
    • by syousef (465911)

      Anyone not convinced of the harm excessive copyright does to society should read Spider Robinson's Melancholy Elephants. It's truly saddening to see the direction all this stuff is going.

      I'm sorry but I didn't find that story at all engaging and I love sci fi. So not only is this not for "anyone" but I'd argue it's not even for most slashdotters.

      Most people won't touch sci-fi with a barge pole and will consider it a geeky propeller head argument. The story would actually turn them off. In fact I'd say askin

      • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:33PM (#26105437) Journal

        Most people won't touch sci-fi with a barge pole and will consider it a geeky propeller head argument. The story would actually turn them off. In fact I'd say asking someone who isn't into sci-fi to read sci-fi for a better grasp of the moral of the story will be put off both sci-fi and the moral you're trying to convey.

        Most people actually like Sci-fi - they just don't know it's really sci-fi, or they don't even think abut it. Whether it's ET or the last Indiana Jones stinker (or Keanu Reeve's latest one, for that matter) or Ironman, it's sci-fi.

        Then again, much of our life today is sci-fi to the previous generation. Cell phones a lot smaller than Kirk's communicator, that have global reach. And can make videos. And contain computers more powerful, and with more memory, than the ones that went to the moon. Refrigierators with no moving parts, no compressor to break down. Microwave ovens as "throw them out if they break", instead of $900 "Radar Ranges". 19" colour TVs? Heck, 35" color TVs are obsolete - welcome to the flat panel display. Laser printers ("laser WHAT? You can't print with a laser. The paper would burn up!" they'd say). The patch. CDs, which didn't even exist then, obsolete! Microfiber clothing. Water-based paints that you can actually scrub! Free software. Businesses whose whole modus operandi, their economic model, is based on enabling the free sharing of software and information. Memory foam. Memory wire. Data cards smaller, and more densely packed with information, than the ones on Star Trek. MRI and CT scanners. Electric cars. Cars that don't need an oil change and grease job every 3,000 miles, and spark plugs, rotor, cap, wires and points every 10,000.

        We've gone from videophones being "pie in the sky" to "webcam free with every laptop sold - see and talk to anyone, anywhere." Try to find a laptop that doesn't have a webcam. Satellite reception - gone from theory to huge base stations with antennas that look like radio astronomers' kit to a pizza-sized dish, 50' of cable, and a small box - buy from the store around the corner, next to all the other stuff that didn't even exist 50 years ago.

        Science fiction? We're living it, to the point where we don't even recognize sci-fi on the big screen.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tomhudson (43916)

        Re: http://www.spiderrobinson.com/melancholyelephants.html [spiderrobinson.com]

        The writing style sucketh mightily, but the idea behind it is gold. Extending copyright to certain expressions for too long is just plain stupid. Every artist is influenced by what has gone before. "If I can see further than most, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants" applies to art, music, and literature, not just to science.

        Time we acknowledge that with a reduction, to 20 years, of copyright. Imagine how much poorer we'd all be, ho

  • by EIHoppe (1430351) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:37PM (#26104535)
    Governments have been ignoring logic for centuries, if not millennia now (if not longer!). Why should this change in the modern era?

    Not only that, but using intangible ideals such as morality or religion to further an illogical goal isn't exactly groundbreaking in the realm of politics either.

    Now, when I get news that a government is actually thinking through something logically, then we can start treating it as groundbreaking news.

    ~EI
    • ...
      Not only that, but using intangible ideals such as morality or religion to further an illogical goal...

      I feel like intangible is the wrong word here.

      Of course ideas like morality or religion are intangible. As are logic and reason.

      Our laws should be guided by logic&reason, but you can't hold reason and logic in the palm of your hand.

      I think I understand you point, but that threw me off of it for a bit(Hence this comment)

      Much of what is considered morality can be described logically. It is probably the best reason to take philosophy class despite the fact that as an engineer you might need it.

  • Hey Andy,

    When copyrights become an issue according to the European Court of Human Rights (or similar authorities), like they did for the UK DNA database [slashdot.org], then you can claim it's a "moral case."

    By the way, when is the government you represent going to get rid of that database? It's a "moral case" after all.

    • When copyrights become an issue according to the European Court of Human Rights (or similar authorities), like they did for the UK DNA database [slashdot.org], then you can claim it's a "moral case."

      FYI: From the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, [unhchr.ch] Article 15, Number 1: "The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone... To benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author."

      There is a lot of debate over the meaning of Article 15, but many pro-IP people take it to mean that copyrights are a human right.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773)

        Of course, it's impossible to reconcile that with freedom of speech (which encompasses the verbatim repetition of others' speech) so perhaps it's not really a human right after all. Certainly it's no natural right, like free speech is. And it's a negative right (i.e. copyrights aren't a right to do anything -- that's free speech -- but instead is a right to prohibit other people from doing things), which makes it even more dubious to claim it's a human right.

        Frankly, while I have no problem with the idea of

  • Petition here (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:49PM (#26104617)

    For all the good it might do:

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/NoTermExtension/

  • by castrox (630511) <stefan.verzel@se> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:49PM (#26104621)

    What is happening with the world? Seriously..?

    It seems the politicians are just having a nervous BREAKDOWN all over the place. If it's not about increasing surveillance, it's fighting terrorism, increasing copyright timespan and frankly, just about anything that's NOT BENEFICIAL OF CITIZENS AT ALL.

    I'm so tired of all this. I was seriously thinking of giving up the fighting but instead I joined the Pirate Party (Sweden). They push their core ideas such as integrity, freedom of expression and freedom to fileshare copyrighted works (that one I don't care that much about).

    I absolutely have lost interest of the politics concerning e.g. healthcare, economics, welfare, defense, infrastructure and what have you. I'm 100% focused on the integrity issues - because, if we have no private life, what the fuck do we have exactly?

    Each and every one party in Sweden is pushing their agenda on the surveillance except for the Pirate Party which is non-negotiably against. Parties traditionally very concerned with integrity issues have been completely HIJACKED and are now pro-surveillance. Just the past year Sweden is about to:
    1) Let the state wiretap the entire country (with un-supportable claims that this will only be done to connections crossing the border)
    2) Give copyright-holders the privilege to ask an ISP for the identity behind an IP-address (what the FUCK? Swedish RIIA)
    3) Implement the EU directive to store traffic data (SMS, MMS, E-mail, web, telephone, cellphone) at the very least 6 months. By the way, this includes position data - now everyone carrying a cellphone can be tracked (at least 6 months back - do you remember where you were 6 months back??). Brilliant! Swedish politicians wants to go further than this and require 1-2 years of storage.

    I've had it. The politicians are so fucking ignorant that I just want to vomit. This state is in a state of hijack and it's fucking time to revolt. The Pirate Party is gaining voters.

    Earlier today I sent an e-mail to the Swedish Security Police (something akin of an investigative police concering itself with e.g. terrorism) asking its head judicial if they have completely lost their mind. Haven't received an answer yet.

    This whole surveillance thing makes me queasy. I cannot for the life of me begin to understand the politicians reasoning for fucking up this (past) democracy like this. :-((

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:02PM (#26104711)

      NOT BENEFICIAL OF CITIZENS AT ALL.

      This is the thing that really annoys me. The statement from Burnham is quite open that his priority is supporting the artists no matter what. When do the other 60 million of the population get their go?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The 'supporting the artist' line is pure spin. This is about corrupt politicians getting into bed with corporations. This really is the new fascism, but instead of an army of brown-shirts we've got an industry of insidiously slick advertising and 'brand' aware reptiles that slowly but surely have been influencing the values of the majority of the population inline with what corporate power wants us to believe.

      • This is the thing that really annoys me. The statement from Burnham is quite open that his priority is supporting the artists no matter what. When do the other 60 million of the population get their go?

        The artists (or more precisely their labels) can -- and probably do -- provide kickbacks to the politicians, either directly or as campaign donations while the ordinary citizens provide "only" votes... and vote usually like sheep (if it were not so, the Pirate Parties would flourish all over the world). From a politician's point of view, acting as they do is a pretty rational way of earning their 30 pieces of silver.

      • The statement from Burnham is quite open that his priority is supporting the artists no matter what. When do the other 60 million of the population get their go?

        Unless the government will guarantee that the artists get the majority of the income generated by these new and improved laws, instead of the record companies and their shareholders and executives, then Burnham is lying.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Earlier today I sent an e-mail to the Swedish Security Police (something akin of an investigative police concering itself with e.g. terrorism) asking its head judicial if they have completely lost their mind. Haven't received an answer yet.

      IME, police forces tend to want more powers. The correct question when formulating such policy should not be "how does this help our police forces?", it should be "how does this help the man in the street?"

      • It doesn't matter what the question is. The non-answers given (if at all) will be the same non-answers given by any public relations department of any government agency. A person cannot expect a serious and forthright answer from an employee who has an agenda to consider. My past experience in writing to governments speaks for itself.

    • by aliquis (678370)

      because, if we have no private life, what the fuck do we have exactly?

      I know I know! No criminality and world peace! Which warrants democracy and freedom to! And integrity to, because if there are no criminals or problem who needs surveillance!?!

      I cannot for the life of me begin to understand the politicians reasoning for fucking up this (past) democracy like this. :-((

      Probably because it's easier to do this than to actual stop heavy criminality. Also there is to few murders and rapes and such so they have nothing else to do, that's why they have to spend their time pouring out beer and such. Crime fighters indeed!

    • by azgard (461476) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:08PM (#26105663)

      It's quite simple really. During the Cold War, the communism was perceived as a real alternative to western capitalist societies (although it never was a real alternative). So the politicians were more careful to the needs of people.

      With the fall of Iron Curtain, this alternative doesn't exist anymore. So they are trying to get more power, because they don't feel so restrained as before.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:52PM (#26104641)

    The Conservatives recently reiterated their commitment to a similar policy, unfortunately, so we're basically screwed.

    For the record, if you look at the submissions to the Gowers Review by members of the public (of which there were many, which are available on-line from the government's Gowers Review web site) you find that despite the huge scope of the review, many of the replies concentrated on this issue, sometimes only this issue — and I didn't see a single one in favour of copyright term extension.

  • Problem Solved (Score:3, Interesting)

    by senorpoco (1396603) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:53PM (#26104643)
    How about a royalties cap. Copyright lasts 25 years or till royalties reach $x that way you protect the earning power of smaller artists while protecting fair use of consumers. But this isn't really about poor performers or consumers is it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Renraku (518261)

      Its about neither performers nor consumers.

      Its about protecting the profitability of the companies that have enough money to send lobbyists and make bribes.

      The base-energy state of democracy is always having to vote for the lesser of two evils. The energy itself is the population, who has grown to be fat and lazy. As long as the governments of the world ease these changes into place one step at a time, most people won't even notice. If most people don't notice, they won't take action.

      I have no solution t

  • who cares? (Score:2, Funny)

    by mcnellis (1420749)
    In other news, TPB breaks more records and piracy continues to increase. It seems the general public doesn't pay attention to this copyright BS, but they sure do know the latest popular bittorrent website! :)
    • by symbolset (646467)

      The further the nonsense in TFA goes, the more the moral question of copyright infringement becomes clear. If our governments see fit to steal from the people the cultural commons that is our right and heritage with laws like this they are making unjust law that will not just be ignored, but will be actively disobeyed. This is a taking and the right thing to do is to take back.

  • by PrimeWaveZ (513534) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @01:55PM (#26104661)

    I'm not going to get into details, but I'm sure every single one of you reading this can think of a time where folks losing an argument (or folks who ended up with some more campaign donations) realized that this issue they are dealing with is a moral issue that must be addressed.

  • Outright theft (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gurps_npc (621217) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:02PM (#26104701) Homepage
    I have altered our Deal. Pray I don't alter it further.

    Advantages of doing it: Distribution companies that own old stuff get more money. Disadvantages of doing it: People that created and sold stuff get ripped off. (I.E. You were a young musician that sold rights to a piece to a company for 50 years. You now have to pay that company to perform it. You were looking forward to the time when you could legally perform it again without paying someone else but now are SCREWED.)

    • by ErkDemon (1202789) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @07:11PM (#26106935) Homepage
      No, you (and a lot of other people) have totally failed to understand what this story is about.

      Please read and attempt to understand:

      IT'S ABOUT RIGHTS TO PAYMENTS FOR THE USE OF EXISTING RECORDINGS.

      Recordings. Not songwriter copyrights.

      So your example is crap. The case simply doesn't apply to it. If your hypothetical struggling musician accidentally sold the rights to their hit song fifty years ago, and was hoping that the song would now go public domain, and is against this extension for the reasons that you gave, then the musician is an idiot, because,

      1. ... that's not how copyright law works. Their song wasn't about to go PD.
      2. ... this proposed legislation doesn't affect the copyright expiration date of the song in any way, and
      3. ... the extension is designed to allow them to continue receiving performance royalties based on the recordings that they made fifty years ago. Without the extension, their remaining rights to their old performances disappears, too.
  • by jmv (93421) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:05PM (#26104721) Homepage

    If we don't extend copyright, what incentive will dead authors have to create?

  • Rip off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:09PM (#26104751) Journal

    What other industry do you get paid for for writing something, then sitting on your backside for the next 70 years watching the money come in? I wish I had such an employer willing to throw money at me for 70 years for writing code I wrote in my 20's.

    • by FudRucker (866063)
      exactly!

      that is why i never buy movies, music, or software or anything else that makes its revenue as intellectual property...
  • After a UK government-led commission said that the current 50-year term for musical copyrights was fine

    Isn't 50 years hilariously high already? They are now extending it to 70? What the heck?

    • Does this mean I will continue to get paid for software I wrote 70 years ago?

      I claim copyright for that code breaking software I wrote back in WW2 for the Turing Bombe!

    • Suppose that you set up a business ("Vexorian Ltd"), and spent years growing that business ... should society say that your rights to income from that business should cease after fifty years, because by fifty years you should have already have been able to take out enough money to retire? And that Microsoft or Disney can now step in and take your business and trademarks and use them however they want?

      In mainstream copyright law, they made a comparison between the work required to be, say, a writer, and th

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:18PM (#26104841) Homepage
    Nobody gives a damn. Really. We don't care. Not one bit. We don't care about the current limit, we won't care about the new one. Collect your campaign contributions, and fuck off downstairs to one of your many heavily subsidised pubs where you can light up your fags in peace, while passing laws against those same things for the rest of us. We. Just. Don't. Care.
  • Thoughts (Score:3, Funny)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:19PM (#26104847) Homepage Journal

    My first thought when reading this was:

    Governments would do well to realize that the power of their laws ultimately depends on people's willingness to follow them. If the law stands in the way of having information and works of art, only lawbreakers will have said information and works of art. But, as we've seen, tightening copyright doesn't actually stop dissemination of copyrighted works much. It does create more lawbreakers on a massive scale.

    Lawsuits have been brought, people arrested in the middle of the night, and little children accused of felonies, and what is the result? More dissent and more organized resistance. People getting speeding tickets may not be enough to mobilize the masses, but criminal charges being brought against their daughters for seemingly innocuous activities will get a lot of soccer moms thinking. And there are a lot of soccer moms. A lot of people will be wondering if the government is acting in their best interests when faced with the lawsuits. And once they start wondering that about copyrights, the cat is out of the bag.

    The bright side of this story is that it might finally wake up the masses and give politicians who act in the public interest a better chance.

  • Fine by me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alanQuatermain (840239) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:25PM (#26104885) Homepage

    If it's all about ensuring aging performers (who can no longer physically perform) continue to make money, that's fine.

    Just set a required minimum royalty rate of 50% on all copyrighted works more than 50 years old.

    That shouldn't be a problem, right? I mean, this is being done for the performers, isn't it?

  • I was thinking that a solution to the problem of eternal copyrights that even a government could get behind despite the pushing of certain industries would have to be one that provided significant income to the government. What if the government allowed a, say, 20 year copyright basically for free (maybe reduced to 10 for something like software, since the real value plummets so much faster) -- just a nominal filing fee. Then to extend it another 10 years, put in a reasonably significant fee, say $25,000 (o

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:35PM (#26104957)

    I work in software and my company is about to be RIF'd by 15%.

    so, not only do I _NOT_ get any royalties from the lines of code I wrote, but I get my job outsourced and then I get fired.

    cobra runs out and if I can't afford healthcare, I could go broke and be homeless.

    is society taking care of ME at all?

    hardly!

    why the fuck should society take care of aging musicians, then?

    it aint right and we all know it.

    I put as much sweat and talent into my code as any damned musician does, these days. why do THEY have lobbies to grant them legal powers to harass customers and sue them but us programmers can't do squat?

    it aint right. kids today see that and so they rebel. more power to you, kids; the future lies with you and not the old guys..

    • by ZorinLynx (31751)

      I know taking devil's advocate here will probably get me strung out and shot, but...

      Seriously, you signed the contract. The copyright on your code is protected just like any other copyright, but you signed it away.

      That's the way life is. It sucks, but if we collectively keep letting companies snarf the right to our code, this will always be the case.

      Unfortunately, one or two of us can't change this. We all have to get together and agree to not work until contracts are better.

      Will that happen? With the apath

      • You're completely missing the point.

        The point is that signing away copyright and/or not owning it because it was a "work for hire" is the norm in most industries that involve the production of copyrightable works. Therefore, copyright extensions almost never help artists / writers / developers.

      • I know taking devil's advocate here will probably get me strung out and shot, but...

        Doesn't stop the government from altering our contract with intellectual property holders (also known as copyright law) whenever they feel like it though, does it?
        • Doesn't stop the government from altering our contract with intellectual property holders (also known as copyright law) whenever they feel like it though, does it?

          shazam!! slam dunk.

          well rebutted!

      • Seriously, you signed the contract.

        false logic. why? because its a system we can't negotiate on fairly. at least right now, its an employer's market. I do remember when it was an employees market (y2k era) but that ship has LONG sailed.

        now, you negotiate on HAVING a job and all else comes second. if you are able to bargain for royalties, etc - more power to you! but its not common nor typical for folks in our field. we can't even (don't even) unionize! so we have NO collective power. none.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      You're generally right, but there's one key problem with your argument:

      It's not about musicians. It never really was. If it were, you'd be hearing more from musicians about it.

      It's about record and motion picture companies (note that these are often the same conglomerates).

  • The claim that support for aging musicians is a moral issue is ridiculous. Musicians are no different from people in any other occupation. Everyone works for a certain period of time, then ceases to work and has to rely on some combination of savings and investments made when they were working, whether by themselves or on their behalf by the government or some other source of pensions. When they were performing or writing the musicians had no expectation that their copyrights would last longer than they cu

  • This is a move to synchronize the copyright length across Europe. EU members (and US) have a term of authors' life +70 years, whereas UK has a term Life +50 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries'_copyright_length [wikipedia.org]
    • If it's an issue of harmonisation, then why not just harmonise everyone to the life + 100 years term of copyright under Mexican law?
    • by Husgaard (858362)
      You are wrong, as the link you provide proves. UK, like all other EU member countries, is bound by EU law to have a copyright protection term of at least author's life + 70 years.
    • It's not quite as simple as that, because the duration of copyright protection varies by both the kind of work (e.g., software vs. music) and by the role played (e.g., performer vs. composer). So while it may strictly speaking be true that some synchronisation would occur if this went through, arguments about consistency aren't very convincing.

    • by mbone (558574)

      No, not really. This is the usual ratchet effect - you wait, in 15 years (if this goes through) there will be a call to "normalize" to some other country that has lengthened their term in the meantime.

      As long as there are politicians willing to be bought off, and nobody rioting in the streets over this, terms will continue to lengthen.

  • From the article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:52PM (#26105115)

    "It's only right that someone who created or contributed to something of real value gets to benefit for the full course of their life," he said.

    So glad to hear you say that, Mr. Burnham. I have a few letters here for you. Here's the royalty bill from the farmer who grew the corn that you consumed on March 17, 1983 (after all, he created something of real value to you -- without it and other food like it, you would have starved.) Here's the bill from the guy you hired to paint your house on June 23, 1996. The other seventy-three bags of bills like them are waiting just outside your front door -- your prompt payment will be appreciated.

  • Copyright unfortunately means more for the big business, than the artists. I want to see a clear calculation as to how many people actually get to live long enough to loose their copyright under current system, and how much money we are talking about for these people. I would also like to know their living status at the time they reach the +50 years age from the time the work got copyrighted. I don't believe there are that many 5 year olds who copyrighted their works get any meaningful compensation here at

  • DRM (Score:2, Informative)

    Folks, it does not matter whether they extend copyright by another 100 years after the death of an artist.

    In another 5-10 years, all new works will be protected by encryption. The DMCA makes it illegal to bypass any copyright protection measures, and does not state that it's ok to bypass such measures after 50, 70 or 100 years. Therefore, after 100 years it will still be illegal to bypass the measure, regardless of whether the copyright itself has expired.

    The poor artist is not the issue here, or the

  • Is their any good reason for copyrights to be transferable? Other than that it's a great way for record companies to extort artists and the public and get fucking rich and powerful?

    I think the first copyright reform should be that copyright be made non-transferable.

    Then, we should get rid of copyrights and patents altogether, because ideas, information, in any medium, is inherently copyable and restricting peoples right to do so is nonsensical and unenforceable.

    How should artists make money? Some other way.

  • Contact Him! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Stormx2 (1003260) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @05:11PM (#26106113)

    Email him. Linky [andyburnham.org]

That does not compute.

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