As if they didn't make enough out of it already.
The UK government has rejected the idea of extending music copyright beyond 50 years, prompting protests from ageing rockers whose work will soon be in the public domain. Ministers yesterday issued a response (pdf, page 11) to recommendations made by the Parliamentary culture'n'media committee, which said the government should …
For how many years after installing a combi-boiler can a plumber expect to continue to get paid every time the householder turns on a hot tap or the radiators?
For how many years after repairing a car can a garage mechanic expect to continue to get paid every time the owner drives it?
For how many years after hanging wallpaper can a decorator expect to continue to get paid every time the householder looks at it?
For how many years after putting up a set of shelves can a handyman expect to continue to get paid every time someone puts something on or takes something off the shelves?
For how many years after having sex with a punter can a prostitute expect to continue to get paid every time the punter cracks a stiffie?
In the Real World, you do a job, you get paid for it, and that's it until the next job you do.
If these artists hadn't put all that energy into evading tax and NI contributions when people were actually buying their albums, they might actually have had pension rights to collect. Or, if they hadn't blown all that money on Champagne and Coke and put some of it in a private pension plan... but hey, I'm just an honest bloke actually working for my money...
I wish I could spend a serendipitous 5minutes/5days/5years and then live off the proceeds for the rest of my life.
Perhaps a tailing off scale would offer a fairer system that ageing rock godlets could feel comfortable with. It might be a little like going cold turkey, so many of them could get with that. After 50 years of the current royalty rate, the royalties would tail off to zero, incrementally, over five years.
Alternatively, the last five years royalties could be used to fund rockstar's care in the community, to rehabilitate them and train them as, say.....music teachers? (perhaps not!)
To make a slightly more serious point. The idea that, 'the money funds new talent through the record labels', just reveals that the market is largely driven by promotion, which is costly, rather than talent, which the labels invest much less in. I'm all for a smaller but higher quality music market, where merit counts more than spin and promo. Then, perhaps, media will be at less usurious prices but the artists will get a fairer proportion of the proceeds (and the labels won't exist or be much smaller, so we'll all be very happy).
I always laugh when I see Cliff Richard (personal wealth of £40 million) and the Rolling Stones (who paid 1.6% in tax out of last year’s earnings of £80 million due to offshore investments) moaning about being hard done by.
I have no pension because I can't afford to put money aside. If they have no pension it is because they don't need one.
I was under the distinct impression that copyright privileges actually survived the authors. The period as I understood it under the Berne Convention, Rome Convention etc. was for copyrights to exist for the life of the creator, and then for 50 years after that. It's the reason Elvis is still paid royalties even though he's been dead for a few years now.
Now for corporately held copyrights, that's different, corps don't die off so the copyright'd need to eventually expire. If this is what the article is dealing with, that's different.
It'd teach the labels to hold the copyright. Leave it with the artist, it'd last longer.
Earth, November 4, 3899
This is a perpetual notice of infringement issued to you by the Universal Cosmic Music Rights Office.
It has come to our attention that you intend of destroiying the universe by massively compressing it before exploding and re-distributing the aggregated materials within a new Universe.
You are forbidden to continue your actions as :
You have no licence to compress our copyrights
Re-distribution of our materials, even under a new form, is forbidden. It could even be considered as peer to peer if we can prove there will be life in the new universe
Please forward you check of 10E27 Talers to UCMRO to cover the cost of this infrigment notice and all your piracy acts yet undiscovered by us.
Elvis Presley, President since 1964
My thoughts exactly. Every working person in the UK contributes into some sort of pension fund or other so why not fantastically rich pop-stars like Cliff who can't be short of a million or two? Thinking about it, do they actually NEED a pension with that amount under the mattress unless stardom has also given them the powers of immortality?
Daltrey foretold penury for wrinkly rockers, saying they had "no pensions and rely on royalties".
Well Roger, if you've pissed so much of your earnings up against the wall that you now need the royalties from 43-year-old recordings to keep yourself from starving in your old age, you've only got yourself to blame.
Tough luck, gramps.
Matthew, I THINK this is about royalties for performing artists not for author's copyright. Ringo Starr gets money as a performing artist when a Beatles' song is played and that lasts 50 years from the date of the performance. Paul McCartney also receives royalties as the author of the song and that will end 50 years after his death. So Yoko Ono has some 23 years left to make money for the nursing home.
Why shouldn't they reap what they have sown?
If you created a piece of original work, and someone is using it many years later - would you not expect to be paid for the use? Just because they have made a lot of money over the years, why should that preclude them from continuing to do so? Is there a finite amount that they should make before being told "no more"?
What is the position on patents?
I've never understood why "artists" think they have any right to earn money for the rest of their lives just because of something they did when they were 18.
Proper artists, by that I mean people who paint pictures, or act on stage, ie people with talent, earn money once, if at all.
Paint a beautiful picture and you get money if & when you sell it, if that picture is then sold on you'll get sweet FA from the second sale.
So why does "sir" cliff (aka Harry Webb) think he should get paid everytime Melody FM or whatever plays one of his tracks to keep the old dears with their knitting happy?
...but I think that the 50 years thing applies only to the performance. The royalties from songwriting last longer.
The way I see it, they've had the royalites for 50 years. That's most of the money they would have got from the performance, even if they had the royalties in perpetuity. Just how much does Cliff expect to collect from "Living Doll" in the *next* 50 years, anyway?
"Some of the greatest works of British music will soon be taken away from the artists who performed them..."
Um. Hang on a Sec, I thought they all signed recording contracts. It was never their property in the first place, its owned by the recording company.
Look, if they have no pensions, its their own stupid fault. Copyright limits are not a new thing, they've been around for decades. Anyone over 18 can open a pension, and anyone who breathes can theoreticly put money away from retirement. Rock stars arent banned from thinking about the future.
This isn't about giving aging rockers a retirement, this is about the chairman of a major record label having to deal with the shame of using last years model of learjet, not the newer extra-cushy model.
As for second class citizens? Think about a painter, I dont see the estate of Van Gough demanding cash, when a painter sells a picture thats it, no more money.
I haven't worked for a company with a pension since 1994, and then I cashed out. I've been self-supporting myself since IRAs (the savings plan, not the Irish) were okayed for everybody in the US.
At several of my employers, they had 401(k)s, which I contributed to and they did a little matching. I've been maxing out my IRA every year.
Anyone who depends on someone else to support them after retirement is a fool.
Oh yeah, Elvis. The reason his estate still collects royalties is because they will collect them for 95 years. They will START to run out about 2050. And little things like the name are trademarked, which means the estate can license them forever.
It is all about *performance* royalties not copyright.
Although it's easy to poke fun at the likes of Sir Cliff, Roger Daltrey et al there is also a huge unknown number of *performers* (i.e. session artists) who will really notice when the royalties dry up. I strongly believe that these artists should be fairly rewarded for their hard work and talent.
I'm not a big fan of Cliff, but all credit to him for trying to change the law for the benefit of everyone. Not completely selfless, but he is spending wads of his own money on this...
Just to clarify, this fifty years is the copyright in the sound recording of a performance. So it is not about rewarding creativity, per se. It is about rewarding the performance of a particular task (e.g. playing guitar during a recording session), and allowing a company to profit out of making such recordings.
The copyright for creative works (e.g. songwriting, writing a novel) is another matter altogether with a more generous copyright term granted.
So Roger Daltrey gets royalties for 50 years for singing on The Who's recordings (not at all bad for a day's work). But Pete Townshend further gets songwriting royalties until his death, then his estate receives royalties for a further 70 years, because he wrote the songs.
I wish I could get paid for the next fifty years for the work I've done today.
There's a bit of subtext here you're missing. None of the commenters think writing or performing is actual work. And that's simply because they have never tried it.
There's some pretty extreme cases of wealth-envy here as well. Could all you guys bitching about Daltrey pissing his money away ask yourself if you'd like some wanker telling you what to do with YOUR money. I didn't think so.
AndyS: you were partly right - there are many different types of rights involved in any one song: the composer of the music has rights (life of the artist + 70 years), the lyricist has rights (life of the artist + 70 years), and the people who actually play on a particular recording of the track have rights (50 years).
This is what the music industry is talking about when the say they want 'parity' - authors, composers, songwriters and artists get life + 70, why don't the performers? Maybe because you end up with f**kers like James Joyce's grandson who forbids the people who continue to line his pockets with cash the right to read aloud the works they love so much at a celebration of his benefactors life (see the introduction here: http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrc/script-ed/vol2-3/bloomsday.asp)
I do love the whole 'but we have no pension' argument. Um, when you recorded the song in the 1950's, you knew when your royalties would stop. But you decided not to save some of the money. And when in the 1980's you begun to get old and realised that you would never have another hit single but were still receiving royalty cheques, did you not start to think that maybe, just maybe, like everyone else in the world, that you might want to start putting some of that money away for a rainy day. But no, you went on spending it, gambling that the government would extend the term of copyright. Guess what buddy, you lost.
Well, at least for the moment, until the EU steps in to extend the term. It's alright, the Germans will come along and help feed you in your old age.
Folks, it's time for each of us to dig deep and help the literally dozens of pensionable rockers out there who, through no fault of their own, are getting old.
One, let's call him Roger, hasn't had a hit for decades and will soon be unable to afford even a single Lear Jet. Roger's "not asking for a handout, just a fair reward for their creative endeavours". Your money could keep him in high performance sports cars for the rest of his life. Is it really so much to ask?
It's heartbreaking that unfair copyright legislation will soon reduce Cliff Richard to a single desert island whilst his American contemporaries can buy entire archipelagoes.
But you, and CliffAid, can help these sad cases. 'Mistletoe and Wine : The Ibiza Dub Remix' is available in all good music shops right now for only £59.99.
CliffAid is a wholly owned subsidiary of Phonographic Performance Limited : enforcing copyright since the early Mesozoic.
"Why shouldn't they reap what they have sown?
If you created a piece of original work, and someone is using it many years later - would you not expect to be paid for the use? Just because they have made a lot of money over the years, why should that preclude them from continuing to do so? Is there a finite amount that they should make before being told "no more"?"
Like Disney did with steam boat willie ?
Steamboat willie was the source of mickey Mouse.... Disney extended copyrights recently just as steamboat willie was to go into the public domain. You COULD argue that mickey mouse was still an active brand in modern day and then give Mickey Mouse's current form a new copyright.
But did you know that Steamboat willie was a spin-off by another artist of the same time? Disney was happy enough to take from the public domain but not give back, how fair is that? If they had done that today they would be in court quick time.
How about shakespear, his plays were ALSO spin-offs of popular stories etc at the same time... how would a shakespear do today in our current society?
I believe that ARTISTS should reap what they have sown, but its not the artists that have the problem, its the PUBLISHING industry that does not want to give the power back to the artist. Give the artist no matter what media 10 -20 years of copyright and then break it up for the public domain, maybe we'd see some more innovation in our industry and less bitching over who owns what.
down with old style publishing, I think that would solve all our worries (including the artists)
So on that Madonna record which was mainly "Gimme gimme gimme" by Abba, do Abba as performers on that track only get royalties for 50 years from the release of "Gimme ..", or 50 years from the Madonna cut'n'paste version ?
(Yes,I know that Benny+Bjorn will get writers' copyright as well ...)
If a session musician turns up, gets told 'play this' and plays it and gets paid, they've no obviously done massively more work than another musician who did a public performance. Had they not been available on the day or fallen under a bus, someone else would have done it, and probably done it about as well in many/most cases.
If a musician was really so good that their style was unique, or better than everyone else, they'd presumably be paid extra for that at the time.
At least with an author/songwriter, if the creator concerned didn't do what they did, someone else *wouldn't* have done it. That's a great difference between them and someone who just plays/sings something.
Hang on --- painters do get some 10% each time their painting is resold. Thus it's another example of `work once -- earn many'.
I feel it's a correct rule, since they tend to have to sell their paintings cheapo in the beginning to dealers/collectors who know the price will explode, but those have the money to hang on to the pic where the painter doesn't.
The PRS appear to be running a big push targetting charity shops for a public space PRS license.
Yes, you read that right, charity shops! (I volunteer in one)
No, they are not unaware that the shop is a charity shop as the letters are addressed to "The **** ***** Charity Shop" and the phone is answered as such.
If we are forced to buy a license, I would very much like to make people who donate to the charity aware that the PRS is ensuring that some of the money for dying people is being used to make deserved payments to rich greedballs like Roger Daltrey and Cliff Richard.
Make the term of copyright SHORTER, these people have been paid many thousands of times over for their 'work'. Scum.
Say did we not give them a second slice of the pie when all us diligent fans of vinyl in the sixties and seventies , go out and buy the same albums first on the new compact audio cassette in the eighties ,to fit in with our marvelous car entertainment systems , and then a few years later upgrade our home audio systems to be compatible with the Compact Audio CD , in the nineties ! , and now they want to stick it up our ass yet again to pay for the lossy mp3's in the new 21st century!(and that figure is not including all the 45's(EP's) sold either with the same album tracks)
Further , we pay indirectly even more monies via both the increased costs on all films we see(ticket prices reflect all movie theater operating costs , mechanical royalties for the musak) higher prices for movie DVD's which reflect mechanical music royalties from the soundtracks used , suffer more crap ad's on TV , as well as other undocumented taxes on mobile hand set ring tones and levies on many other products as well!(way I read EMI's balance sheet an approximate minimum of 20% of the company's annual income comes from all forms of mechanical royaties paid over the past five years , hence the scream longer copyright control is better)
The man from I.F.P.i. , should be ashamed of himself for making such stupid and silly off the cuff comments , for if truth be told , for we the buying public have been bled dry by these blood suckers for long enough!
So if truth be told , it is they the industry as a whole , who owe the public a duty to release all past music to public domain now , for we have paid them more than three times for the same piece of music!
I suppose in the next EMI annual report whilst the top 4 take a 25% pay hike , and the annual sales have declined some 16% they will blame it on both the lax UK copyright laws and illicit file sharing piracy for the continuing decline in the end user market without apportioning as to where the true blame lies! Both BPI and IFPI will quadruple the cry of piracy is killing the music industry!
Though , in countries where end users pay levies on blank CD's and DVD's they still cry wolf because they have no control on the dispersal of these taxes
Or in the words of Gordon Gecko from Wall Street when asks by Bud Fox "How much is enough?" answer "It's not a question of enough, pal. It's a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply transferred from one perception to another."
If the term was going to be reduced I could sympathise with their complaints. But all that will be happening is that the term will *not* be *extended*.
In other words, they're getting exactly the deal that they had reason to expect when they performed the copyrighted work in the first place. This fails to arouse my sympathy for some reason.
The real complaint is that other artists (such as songwriters) have had their copyrights extended and now they want the same deal. In particular, the labels want the same deal, to preserve the cash cow that is their 50s & 60s catalogues. There are good arguments against having let *that* happen, but that particular horse has well and truly bolted.
There's no justification to extend copyright on the artists' part; they are getting exactly what they bargained for. Likewise the labels. On the other hand, there is substantial public good in *releasing* copyrights. Copyrighted works can't be used freely as the basis for other works. Releasing those copyrights creates a bigger toolbox for use of new artists. It opens new opportunities for creative expression.
I can see why the artists are complaining (after all, they are better off with the copyright extension than without it) but any who think they are being treated unfairly can send me $100 for my copyrighted opinion.
I was also under the impression that "session artists" are also paid a one off royalty payment - exactly the same a bit part actors doing adverts.
I heard an interview about this a couple of months back, and one of the mega stars said their biggest complaint was that although they only got paid for 50 years, the record company still continued to both enjoy profits (sometimes very large - look at some of the beatles/pink floyd stuff) and royalties, whilst the performer no longer got paid. He was making the argument, if they didn't get anything why should the lables who made most of the money anyway.
"who will really notice when the royalties dry up."
Cliff can always re-record the track, and start the copyright period again with the new recording. In doing so, he pays new session musicians, recording studios etc. again, so there is business and progress. The world moves on and normal commerce happens.
If his work still has value then it's worthwhile rerecording, if it doesn't then there's no loss in ending the copyright. Or perhaps it has value that Cliff can't leverage like Elvis vs JXL - A little less conversation, a little more action.
Either way it will unbung the constipated music industry that endlessly rereleases old recordings.
At the end of the day all he did was sing into a microphone 50 years ago, and a few session musicians twanged guitars behind him.
"There's a bit of subtext here you're missing. None of the commenters think writing or performing is actual work. And that's simply because they have never tried it."
No-one here is saying that the creative genius of some of these artists (!) ISN'T work, just that it is completely idiotic to be paying for it again and again and again. You DO work - you get PAID. Simple.
"There's some pretty extreme cases of wealth-envy here as well. Could all you guys bitching about Daltrey pissing his money away ask yourself if you'd like some wanker telling you what to do with YOUR money. I didn't think so."
Erm... what? Daltrey is the one moaning about not having any cash left. It is the other people posting giving him advice (for free dammit). Maybe they should be paid for another 50 years for their advice. mmm.....
It's really sad the contempt that most people posting here have for musicians.
Tens of thousands of performers asked to get the same copyright protection as other creators. Instead of looking at it that way, everyone looks at this as wrinkly rockers trying to rinse more cash, citing the media's poster boy Cliff as an example. Why do we have such contempt for people who stand up for what they believe in?
This was always a question of fairness and respect for artists. Quite apart from the royalties issue, society says that artists should enjoy copyright protection (so they can identify their work as their own) for their lives plus 70 years. Performers are the anomaly here. By saying it is correct that these artists should have less copyright, we are effectively saying their art is second rate. The copyright in this week's OK! magazine is valued more by society than, say, The Beatles performance of Hey Jude.
Question is, now the government say copyright should stay the same, who wins? The only people who win are the copyleft digital utopians and masses of clueless bloggers marshalled by the likes of boing boing, the open rights group and EFF who can genuinely claim to have caught the government's ear by making so much noise on this debate.
Funny thing is, the digital utopian view that vaults of music will now become available for the Web 2.0 hobbyists to play with is pure fantasy. All this "public domain material" is still protected by authors' rights. If anything, the expiry of the recording copyright removing the incentive for a label to release it (even digitally), which means older recordings have even less chance of becoming available. And those that are will be crowded out by crap re-releases of already well-known and popular titles. Look on Amazon for current PD material, and all you'll see are loads of bargain-bucket reissues of John Lee-Hooker, Sinatra and Elvis.
Maybe the performers and industry lobby groups will shut up now, maybe not. But this was always going to be an EU decision, so the blogsphere should keep the champagne on ice. Perhaps Brussels will have slightly less contempt for musicians and come to a different conclusion.
How does an artist get 10% when the painting is resold?
Does the auction house or gallary pass the costs on or something?
This would make it a similar system to lower division football clubs, who get a %age of the fee when players are sold on in future seasons. This is a fair system as they discovered the player and nurtured him in the first place.
Maybe this is the reason R.D. was hoping he died before he got old?
I can't imagine Cliff or Roger struggling to pay their gas bill this winter. Stuff 'em.
Record companies answer to their shareholders, not "new talent" or the artists who wrote the songs whose copyright they own. Stuff them and all.
Is earning several million dollars for a weeks (or much less) work "fair reward"? Just how much money do these people need to collect for a weeks work. Most people get paid a weeks wages for a weeks work. They dont get paid 50 years wages for a weeks work, let alone 75 or 95.
Also, though pop stars may not get a pension, surely they could put aside some portion of their multi-millions for their twilight years?
Me, Id happily trade my decades of depressing drudgery and forthcoming paltry pension for a slice of Daltreys past millions.
I think these people need a reality check.
I dont think the issue is whether songwriting or performing is regarded as work or not (which it is). The issue is whether you should get paid again and again for the one piece of work.
A carpenter who makes a chair doesnt get paid everytime someone sits in it. And if he wants to sell two chairs he has to make two. The music artist makes one performance in a studio, and then the CD factory stamps virtually free replicas out by the million. The musician then gets paid a million or more times for the one piece of work.
Some lucky artists have recorded a single song and then never have to work again for the rest of their lives. Was the work really worth all that reward? Hardly.
"It's really sad the contempt that most people posting here have for musicians."
Don't talk complete rubbish.
No-one here has contempt for them. All we are saying is that they have already been paid.
I write some software/do some artwork... the company/client I work for pays me. End of story.
That same software might still be running in 50 years time, or even still be for sale, do I have any say/stake in the matter - no. It has been paid for.
It IS a shame that some musicians don't think ahead and make arrangements for their twilight years - but so what? We let people die in poverty all the time. The difference is that these people haven't usually earnt huge somes of cash when they were younger.
I can barely believe Cliff et al are publically shaming themselves in this way. Is 50 years not enough time to keep earning money from something you did once? More to the point, they knew full well what the deal was when they did it. Copyright is a bargain between society and creators, not a natural property right. Society gives them exclusivity for a (generous) period in order to encourage creation. In return, once that period is up, it enters the public domain. This is nothing more than greedy people (regardless of the merit or difficulty of their work) trying to break their side of a deal.
All this emotional language about "investment" and "pensions" and "entitlement to the profits from their hard work" is nothing but smoke and mirrors to disguise the fact that these people have no integrity whatsoever and want to renege on a fair deal they consciously made, whilst keeping the spoils.
More people should go and read "Copyrights and Copywrongs" by Siva Vaidhyanathan. It's a bit US-focused but is a really good (and fair) explanation of the link between copyright and creativity, and the bargain that we strike by having copyright laws.
>>"Tens of thousands of performers asked to get the same copyright protection as other creators."
Apart from people actually improvising in a significant way, performers are not really 'creators'. At best they add some kind of individuality to a performance compared to someone else, but that's it.
If all a member of a pop group did was play/sing what someone else wrote, they would have been more or less replaceable (think 'manufactured band').
If they actually had some real creative input, they should have got themselves credited as songwriters.
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