Copywrongs and Shareright

Posted on Sun 29 October 2006 in Uncategorized.


Yeah, I know the words in the title are made up, but bear with me.

Copywrongs are [amongst other things] the current pushes by the media companies [not the artists though] to extend UK copyright protection to 95 years. 95 years.

Hands up everyone who has music from 95 years ago? Don’t be shy. Come on. No? Oh.

Hands up everyone who has music from 50 years ago? Ah there are some about. You do realize that currently these will fall out of copyright and into the public domain? That artists such as The Beatles, Elvis, Haley and the Comets, Louis Armstrong and so on [I’ve run out of artists from that era …] will be public domain in the 2010’s?

We can’t have everyone enjoying the music without having to pay for it, can we? Well yes, we can, and must.

Perpetual copyright can be achieved by gradually incrementing the copyright protection legislation till it is in effect perpetual. Disney’s copyright extensions to works from the 1920’s meant that Mickey Mouse et al won’t enter the public domain till 2019+, instead of the original 2003.

I’ll take bets that in 2015, Disney will be approaching Congress for an extension.

Whilst copyright is essential to encourage works to be produced, it should not allow an artist to use one work as their sole income because of perpetual or ridiculously long copyright terms.

We could see Disney et al stop producing works and only enforce current copyright, whilst “lobbying” the US Congress to extend copyright protection.

This moves us to the question: if the current media companies move to enforcement rather than creation, what will we be listening/watching/enjoying 50 years from now? If anything like the opening question, we’d be bored of today’s music/movies/arts in 50 years time, and expecting something new.

This is where the Shareright bit comes in. There are already mechanisms in place, such as the Creative Commons which allow people use of works in a legally lenient way. Artists are against DRM and suing fans. The IPPR are calling for it to be legal to copy CD’s for personal use [also see].

What is needed now is legislation to be brought in to enforce the original purpose of copyright; encouraging artists to create new content. The original copyright law in the UK from the 1700’s allowed 14 years copyright, with an extension of another 14 years if applied for.

Thats 14 years regardless of whether the author is alive or not. Not the current “life of author plus 50”.

If you do produce content, use a Creative Commons License, so that users can enjoy, copy, and distribute your works legally.

In other news… RailMan is coming along nicely, I’m currently working on the server/client sockets; Uni is good, I’m finally enjoying it :-); Lapwing-Linux is in limbo, wayyy too much to do [like writing articles on copyright law that no-one reads … ].

Enjoy the rest of the day peoples!