1950s Europe Copyrights End

By Jon Newton 8/17/04

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is a-shakin', a-rattlin' and a-rollin'.

That's because in Europe, sound recordings made on or before December 31 1954 will become public domain as of January next year.

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Nooooooooo! - Cries the BPI in anguish.

European sound recording copyrights become void after 50 years but, "By contrast the work of authors, songwriters and composers - the song rather than the recording - is protected for 70 years after their death, a total perhaps of 120 or 130 years," the Big Music organization bleats.

Why can't recording copyrights be like the US where they last for 95 years? - asks the BPI.

"Some suggest dismissively that this is about the right of already established and successful artists like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones being able to continue to earn royalties on their work," it goes on.

But, "Just as is the case with music piracy, it is not the established artists who suffer the most when copyright is weak or abused. It's about the new generation of artists."

What a load of old bollocks.

It's about unvarnished greed and the Big Four record label cartel's bottom line.

So, If an American file trader swaps songs in the public domain over the puddle with a European trader can the record industry cry piracy? It doesn't matter they will anyway. The Elvis Sun Sessions are free in Europe now, but the US record firms still charge $45 for Louis Armstrong recordings in the public domain under US law (what I paid for Louis Armstrong: Portatrait of an Artist as a Young Man). Proof they profit on public domain material too. --editor.

Jon Newton is the editor of p2pnet.net and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.

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