back to article Bob Dylan's new album is 'Copyright Extension Collection'

Europe's decision to extend copyright on music recordings from 50 to 70 years has just produced a curiosity: a four-disk compilation of Bob Dylan tunes that publisher Sony Music has come right out and called “The Copyright Extension Collection”. The new laws were introduced in September 2011 and became known as “Cliff's Law”, …

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  1. PhilipN Silver badge

    Like to know what Dylan thinks

    A Dylan fan, yes, but I am interested rather than excited. I would be much more interested in what the man himself says about this opportunistic release of material that either he or the record company did not see fit to release previously.

    And "careful curation"?.... Cough! Splutter!

    1. LarsG
      Meh

      Well

      Opportunistic fleecing by a record company, I bet Dylan only gets pennies from it anyway. As to the 'new material' there is usually a reason why it was never included in the original albums.

      Usually the artist thought it was crap and didn't want to publish it.

      'New material' albums are a record company scam to fleece the idiots who don't see it for what it is.

      1. Turtle

        @LarsG: Re: Well

        "Opportunistic fleecing by a record company,...As to the 'new material' there is usually a reason why it was never included in the original albums."

        There seem to be sound legal reasons for this release, anyway. And how many of these collections of releases with material from the vaults don't have the approval of the artist, anyway? Probably not too many. Moreover, you seriously underestimate the market among an artist's fans for, and their interest in, unreleased, rare, and uncollected recordings.

        "I bet Dylan only gets pennies from it anyway..."

        You are certainly wrong. If you think that Dylan, after decades of success in the record industry, has never had the power to negotiate or renegotiate very advantageous royalty rates both within the term of an existing recording contract, and especially when negotiating a new contract after an existing contract has, or is about to, expire, then you know even less about how the record industry works than your post suggests. It is very probable that Dylan received a very high percentage of the retail price of each cd set sold, making that potentially hundreds of dollars for each set sold.

        So, uh, what else don't you know about the record industry?

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: @LarsG: Well

          Maybe Bob Dylan signed a lousy contract when he was 15 and is still bound by it; I don't know. Is he rich? Music industry practice is catch 'em when they're young and probably also stoned. There's a long list of suckers, including many famous names.

          1. Justin Stringfellow
            Unhappy

            Re: @LarsG: Well

            > Is he rich?

            He effing better be. He charged me over £60 a ticket to see him mumble his way through some tunes while hiding behind a keyboard and large hat, in Bournemouth last year.

      2. sabroni Silver badge

        @LarsG Usually the artist thought it was crap and didn't want to publish it.

        I thought that was more a record company thing. An artist records something they think is good, not the same as their old stuff but pushing in a new direction. The record execs think the target demographic would be bigger if the songs were poppier, more radio friendly and more like the old stuff so tell the artist to produce something else...

        Of course these days record companies don't have the control they used to have, but when they were the only way of getting your music out they had a lot more power.

    2. Turtle

      @PhilipN: What Dylan thinks

      " I would be much more interested in what the man himself says about this opportunistic release of material that either he or the record company did not see fit to release previously."

      He approves. Trust me on this: if he or his heirs (i.e. kids and family in general) gets to retain legal ownership of his work for an extra twenty years because this collection is released, then he heartily approves. Be certain of it. And even if he does think that the unreleased material is far from being his best, he wants to retain ownership of it for as long as possible all the same. How bad would these unreleased tracks have to be for him to both disavow them, and want to lose legal his legal rights to them? Probably worse than it is possible for them to be. (And I am no Dylan fan, believe me.)

      And what makes you think that he doesn't have final say and approval over what material of his is released? Bob Dylan is not some green neophyte who has to sign whatever piece of paper the record company's lawyers put in front of him, both in regard to his contracts with whatever record company with which he is signed, and permissions for the release of anything with his name on it or on which he performed. As an extremely high-profile artist for decades, he - in the company of an army of lawyers - has approached every contractual negotiation from a position of strength and the terms of his contract surely reflect that.

      And really, a fan who would pay $1000 for an item like this doesn't really care about the quality of the new tracks; such a fan wants every possible edition of everything that the artist has ever released and the rarer the better. And there are plenty of fans who will think that this is a highly exclusive - and so, highly desirable - item.

      1. David Neil

        Re: @PhilipN: What Dylan thinks

        It might be selling for $1000 a copy, but it'll appear on a torrent site soon enough

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @PhilipN: What Dylan thinks

          I bet you're wrong, i.e. if it has been released, it HAS appeared on torrents already. And both clientele segments are satisfied. Those who'd pay any price, and those who'd pay no price. But I bet Sony will be lamenting about loosing a fortune, when (not if) they quickly multiple their asking price by the number of torrent downloads :)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC @PhilipN: What Dylan thinks

            You can't possibly know that those people won't pay anything. All you know is that those people won't pay anything so long as free torrents are available.

    3. beep54
      Happy

      Re: Like to know what Dylan thinks

      The 'careful curation" comment got me to thinking of Self Portrait. This was a double album put out by Dylan himself (still under the Columbia label). It has fascinatingly hideous cover art (as painted by Bob hisownself, putting to rest the rumors that he did the cover art work for The Band's album Music From Big Pink; he obviously did. Eh, it also put to rest the fact that he wrote 'Quinn, The Eskimo'). When Self Portrait came out, many, if not most, critics derided it for being one of the worst albums ever recorded (although quite a few acknowledged that Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music still held the title of absolute worst). Me, I liked the album. A lot. It has the old Revolutionary song 'Copper Kettle' which I adore (Spotify has it). Then again, it has Bob forgetting words to his own songs and the truly twisted cover of Paul Simon's 'The Boxer', which is the only time Dylan ever double-tracked his voice. Thankfully, the only time. Still, I love this album. Then again, I thought when it first came out that the Yoko side of Live Peace Toronto 1969 was the future of rock'n'roll. I think I was actually right, too.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Curiously...

    A recent ten-CD release from BB King back in September, too...

  3. JaitcH
    WTF?

    No problem, my record supplier PirateBay has them up already

    Seventy years is far too long, the copyright should cease when the author/artist dies.

    I only buy really good stuff, on CD's or vinyl yet, and after I have checked it on download - too much Tosh put out by the recording companies.

    As for Cliff Richards stuff, many far better artists out there. I liked Francis (Frank) Edward Ifield whose now 75 years old.

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: No problem, my record supplier PirateBay has them up already

      Outside of amateur production, almost all music is created as a work for hire. Copyright belongs to the publisher, not the individual artist.

    2. JimC

      Re: Copyright should cease when you die

      Even if you die young and leave a wife and small children?

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Copyright should cease when you die

        Especially then...

  4. Turtle

    @JaitcH: When you die...

    "Seventy years is far too long, the copyright should cease when the author/artist dies."

    Yeah, provided that all your property is forfeited and given to anyone who wants to take it when you die.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

      No-one cares turtle.

      By the time you die you will be _happy_ that anyone still wants your stuff.

      Better make the dosh way before.

    2. P Saunders

      Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

      As long as my property continues to pay me long after its creation, who cares what happens to it after I die?

    3. Magnus_Pym

      Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

      Not property - Copyright. There is a difference. No one is suggesting that an artist has to release all the money and property gained through a lifetime of work. Only that the artist ceases to earn money after they are dead.

      How would you like it you couldn't earn money after you dead?*

      *sarcasm.

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: provided that all your property is forfeited [...] when you die

      Fine by me, as long we're just talking about property that is itself 70 years old.

      The value of real property depreciates. After 70 years it is generally worthless. The only physical items I still possess that I acquired more than 30 years ago are all materially worthless. I keep them because they have sentimental value, so in fact they are probably "intellectual property".

      Intellectual property should depreciate in a similar fashion. 70 years is too long and there should be some distinction drawn between IP that is new, 20 or 40 years old.

      1. BorkedAgain
        FAIL

        Re: provided that all your property is forfeited [...] when you die

        I'm guessing you don't own a house?

      2. JimC

        Re: The value of real property ... after 70 years is generally worthless

        Strange, that's not the impression I get looking at the Antiques Roadshow on TV...

        I have a fair few posessions over 70 years old, books and musical instruments for example, and they are most certainly not worthless because of their age. In some cases quite the opposite actually.

        But the whole argument is logically false. If the old music were valueless there would be no argument, but of course its not.

        All this is about is big advertising wanting all the money for themselves, with plenty of useful idiots drinking their kool-aid. (about time I got a few mre downvotes)

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: The value of real property ... after 70 years is generally worthless

          "Strange, that's not the impression I get looking at the Antiques Roadshow on TV..."

          I think that rather proves my point. The proportion of what was created N years ago that physically survives to the present day is *miniscule* and that (for some) gives it a rarity value. (To be honest, most of the stuff on Antiques Roadshow is worthless, mind. Kudos to those who can convince mugs to shell out dosh for it.) The point is that physical property degrades (at some rate) and the value of the property right degrades with it, so perhaps IP should fade away as well.

          At present, the "lifetime" of IP seems to be advancing by a decade or two every decade or to, in response to lobbying by people who didn't create it. We need some notion of IP rights, since society is increasingly vesting economic value in non-physical artefacts, but the current direction seems to be for Disney and friends to own everything and that isn't something that the general public can support forever.

    5. A J Stiles
      FAIL

      Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

      In many cultures worldwide, the deceased's belongings are thrown on their funeral pyre. And if you want to give stuff away, you do it while you are alive.

      1. edge_e
        Flame

        Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

        Write a few songs and live off the royalties for 70 years.

        Clean toilets everyday for minimum wage and be lucky to live that long.

        There is something seriously wrong here

        1. Tom 35

          Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

          Even better.

          Live off dead dad's royalties and pay someone minimum wage to clean your toilet.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

            "Even better.

            Live off dead dad's royalties and pay someone minimum wage to clean your toilet."

            You think there should be no inheritance whatsoever from parent to child? Or is it only royalties which shouldn't be inherited? And you think all jobs should pay the same? Interesting ideas. Not sure I agree with you.

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

        Could you explain why it's a natural right to make copies of something, but not a natural right to not have people copy your work?

        I'm genuinely curious as to how one is natural (and presumably, therefore obvious) and the other isn't?

        1. Keep Refrigerated
          Holmes

          Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

          Could you explain why it's a natural right to make copies of something...

          Simple - If the government didn't exist, anyone would still be able to make copies of what you did (e.g. you invent a wheel - suddenly everyone is copying it - that's called human progress) - whereas making people not copy requires a government (or sizable militia that agrees with you) to enforce it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

            "Could you explain why it's a natural right to make copies of something...

            Simple - If the government didn't exist, anyone would still be able to make copies of what you did (e.g. you invent a wheel - suddenly everyone is copying it - that's called human progress) - whereas making people not copy requires a government (or sizable militia that agrees with you) to enforce it."

            Okay, and can you explain how that explanation is relevant to audio recordings of Bob Dylan songs?

            1. Keep Refrigerated
              WTF?

              Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

              Umm... I think I explained why it's pretty much relevant to everything that can be copied or recorded.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

            So what you're saying is that without copyright there is no incentive to innovate - Why would you spend your own money developing something, if everyone was allowed to copy it.

            The basic upshot is that, by your argument, we need copyright to have and sort of design based industry, be that engineering or creative arts.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

              A lot of Dylan's lyrics are from the romantic poets - if we had perpertual copyright back then he wouldn't have been able to rip off Keats, Shelley etc. And Disney wouldn't have been able to raid H C Anderson

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

                "A lot of Dylan's lyrics are from the romantic poets - if we had perpertual copyright back then he wouldn't have been able to rip off Keats, Shelley etc. And Disney wouldn't have been able to raid H C Anderson"

                No "a lot of Dylan's lyrics" aren't from romantic poets, that's just bollocks.

          3. Fibbles
            FAIL

            Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

            Simple - If the government didn't exist, anyone would still be able to kill you (e.g. you piss someone off, suddenly everyone wants to lynch you - that's called human nature) - whereas making people not kill you requires a government (or sizable militia that agrees with you) to enforce it.

            Twisted pirate logic means the right to life is no longer a natural right. So long as you can have music without paying who cares, right?

            1. Keep Refrigerated
              Facepalm

              Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

              Oh dear. Well I know I'm not supposed to feed you guys but...

              Life evolved without the need for copyright protection or government intervention so how exactly are you denied the right to live?

              Governments by their nature take away rights and freedoms to grant security and redistributed wealth. Governments don't grant rights, they recognise them - certain rights depending on their political motivations (even then they may not choose to respect them).

              1. Fibbles

                Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

                You might want to check your sarcasm meter. I was not seriously suggesting that infringing somebody's copyright is denying them the right to life.

                Everyone has the natural right to ownership of their creations, even when they are intangible. Governments recognise this right through the legal right of copyright.

                I await your post telling me that copyright is not a human right, despite that not being what I said.

          4. lauri_hoefs
            FAIL

            Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

            "Simple - If the government didn't exist, anyone would still be able to make copies of what you did (e.g. you invent a wheel - suddenly everyone is copying it - that's called human progress) - whereas making people not copy requires a government (or sizable militia that agrees with you) to enforce it."

            You seem to ignore the fact, that making the wheel would actually require quite a lot of craftmanship, raw materials and tools.

            So the people who have dedicated most of their lives to learning the required skills, learned to make the tools and gather the materials should just make free wheels for everyone? Hoorray! Free wheels!

            The idea of a wheel: free.

            The work of making an actual wheel: not automatically free

            And further:

            A song: free (at least after some reasonable period of time)

            The work of recording or performing a song: not automatically free

            Note the word automatically. The works can be free, if the person making them so wishes. But you should not be able to force someone else to work for free. That's called slavery.

            1. Keep Refrigerated
              Holmes

              Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

              That's a little bit of a straw man response to my argument, considering that we were discussing the act of copying, not the act of stealing.

              If we are to take the analogy in the direction you suggest:

              - You crafting a wheel out of some wood and stone you found = Not free, it's yours.

              - Me watching how you did it crafting a wheel out of some wood and stone I found (copying you) = Not free, it's mine.

              - Me crafting a machine that can skip all that hard work and spit out 100 wheels per 1 wheel you make with all that hard work = not free, mine + progress and innovation.

              It's progress and innovation that copyright by it's nature, tries to limit and slow down. Of course, when we're talking about inventing wheels we may as well be talking about patents, but it's an analogy describing the same effect when we apply it to the internet, digital files, second-hand sales, mash-ups, cover performance etc...

              Tell me, where would be the incentive for me to invent the wheel crafting machine if I was informed beforehand that you 'owned' the idea of the wheel and therefore I'd have to pay you every time I wanted to use my machine?

              Since we're imagining there being no government - there's no one to tell me but you - and I'm going to laugh and say how can you own something that I made?

              I doubt human progress would have come as far as it did if the idea of "intellectual property" had existed from the beginning.

              So how do you now make money on your wheel?

              Well, chances are you really made the wheel because you felt passionate about wheels and it was really useful to you. It's only when other people saw the value of copying it that you started thinking about it's value. However some people may also find the value in purchasing an authentic wheel hand-crafted by you - the original wheel creator - there will always be a market for that.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

                Shot yourself in the foot there actually.

                If I write and record a song (which costs me money to do) and have that recording, and you make a copy of that recording, you've not watched how I made the recording. and copied my method at all. You've not replicated the time and effort and money I put into creating the audio recording. You've just leeched off my endeavour, for your personal benefit, without putting in the effort I did. If you'd copied my method, and made your own recording of the tune, fair play. But you didn't.

                So your own analogy doesn't stand up.

          5. lauri_hoefs
            Mushroom

            Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

            "Simple - If the government didn't exist, anyone would still be able to make copies of what you did (e.g. you invent a wheel - suddenly everyone is copying it - that's called human progress) - whereas making people not copy requires a government (or sizable militia that agrees with you) to enforce it."

            This "natural right" bullshit is really making my blood boil.

            According to this twisted and sinister logic nothing is enforceable without a militia. Nothing. NOT EVEN BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS! So bringing this idiotic argument to a discussion about copyright is absolutely retarded and only harms the cause.

            As someone who has dedicated a large part of their life to fight against things like conscription, forced labour and draconian copyright laws I find it truly appalling that you would use an argument like that, and actually think you are making a valid point for a just cause.

            Sheesh. Every 15 year old who has somehow managed to crawl half way through of 'Days of War, Nights of Love' (and still completely missing the point!) now think they are making the world a better place by nicking Snickers bars from supermarkets and torrenting music. Some revolution that is. Spoiled brats.

      2. A J Stiles

        Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

        What you said.

        Also, we need to give serious consideration to the question of whether granting content producers a temporary monopoly over their creations is really the best way to encourage innovation in modern times? Back when printing presses were big, unwieldy things and printing unauthorised copies of material would have seemed a good way of supplementing the return on one's investment, it might have made sense. Today, with the means of producing and distributing copies of material almost universally accessible, I am not so sure it is the best way to achieve the intended objective.

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Seriously.

    Anyone not torrenting this?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seriously.

      Actually, you're in luck. :) Just check out the "usual sources". ;)

    2. sabroni Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Seriously.

      Me. Tedious nasal whining I do myself.

  6. Silverburn
    Happy

    It's Cliff's fault

    Personally, I think it's Cliff's fault - he is the real world equivilent of Johnny Saveloy, and had he been mortal would have keeled over years ago and this copyright problem would not have needed solving.

  7. tirk
    Unhappy

    Judas!

    Seems the historically appropriate thing to shout at Dylan (and yes, I guess he might not have had any influence on this decision, be her doesn't seem to have publicly condemned it either).

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: A massive 1962 revival?

      Maybe not massive, but music has changed less in the fifty years since 1962 than it did in the previous 50. You can be sure that some 1960s music would be reworked by modern composers if it were freely available and quite a lot more would be incorporated into the live repertoire of modern performers.

      History is no guide here, since we are only now entering the period where decent-quality sound recordings are available to pinch. No pop radio station in the 1980s could have played tracks from the 1930s even if they'd wanted to. (Well, OK, perhaps on AM wavebands no-one would have noticed... :)

      1. Fibbles
        Facepalm

        Re: A massive 1962 revival?

        The royalties paid on 50 year old music when it is performed live or remixed are tiny. If people aren't doing it already it's because no one is interested, not because the costs are prohibitive.

  9. Anonymous Coward 101
    Headmaster

    Remember..

    Dylan would not have written these songs decades ago if he didn't think the copyright period would be extended by 20 years in 2013.

    Incentives matter.

    (that was sarcasm)

    1. zb

      Re: Remember..

      IP law is not my strongest suit but there seems to be a lot of confusion in this thread. Dylan and his heirs will have the US copyright to the songs he has written for his lifetime plus 70 years. This is not to be confused with protecting the rights of the artist recording a song (regardless of who wrote it).

      To my knowledge Clff Richard never wrote a song in his life; his campaign was to prolong the royalties he received on his recordings. It seems pretty clear to me that the Dylan re-releases are all about performance and not performing rights.

      Not that it changes my opinion that the whole can of copyright worms stinks.

  10. g e
    Devil

    In other news

    Following on from the success of the first Hobbit movie, MGM announce that it will now be extended to span five films.

  11. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. El Presidente
      Facepalm

      Re: copyright laws are now anti-public

      What a load of unmitigated,factually incorrect, envy based bollocks.

    2. Hollerith 1

      Re: copyright laws are now anti-public

      We have a sort of 'Mickey Mouse' special one-off law here: Great Ormond St Children's Hospital has the Peter Pan rights forever, I believe. The State can achieve good things.

      As someone who has copyright in ficition and poetry, I also should mention the huge psychological need to be able to own what you create. I earn literally (yes I mean literally) pennies a year, but what I do is mine and no one can take it with impunity. It's hugely important to a creator to be named as the onlie begettor.

      1. zb

        Re: copyright laws are now anti-public

        According to the hospital web page:

        Q. Does great Ormond Street Hospital have the copyright in Peter Pan in perpetuity?

        A. No, the hospital has a right to royalty in perpetuity, but this is not a true copyright. This right only applies to the UK for stage productions, broadcasting and publication of the whole or any substantial part of the work or an adaptation of it.

        http://www.gosh.org/gen/peterpan/copyright/faq/#Copyright

    3. SleepyJohn
      Stop

      Re: copyright laws are now anti-public

      Yes. Personally I have come to the conclusion that copyright should be abolished totally, and a replacement system allowed to evolve naturally. Anything, but anything must be better than the existing system, which has managed to degenerate into little more than a government sponsored extortion racket run by and for American organised crime.

      Interestingly, I think that is exactly what is actually happening right now. Filesharers have effectively taken it upon themselves to abolish copyright, by simply making it unsustainable; and intelligent artists are beginning to find some very interesting ways of capitalising on the emerging free market. I read the other day that at any one time there are more people using BitTorrent than Youtube and Facebook combined. One would expect intelligent businessmen to see enormous potential for profit in such a situation, yet all the copyright cartels can see are ever more people to sue, threaten, extort, imprison and generally make life-long bitter enemies of - the typical behaviour of pea-brained criminals.

      Only those whose brains have become completely addled by rapacious greed could possibly be too stupid to see the incredible market potential of file-sharing - which can only exist legally in the absence of copyright. And I speak as a professional author of negligible repute, but sufficient brain to see that the absence of copyright is more beneficial to me than the existence of it. For us ordinary peasants at the bottom of the heap, obscurity is the problem, and file-sharing the solution.

      PS - I refuse to use the word 'pirate' with its ridiculous and manipulative connotations.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: copyright laws are now anti-public

        As an author, please explain why the absence of copyright is more beneficial to you that the existence of it. You think with no copyright everyone is going to share your work more? Why?

        And seriously, "all the copyright cartels can see are ever more people to sue, threaten, extort, imprison and generally make life-long bitter enemies of - the typical behaviour of pea-brained criminals." - Generally speaking criminals don't imprison people.

        I do wonder if your lack of professional repute as an author is really a copyright issue ...

        1. SleepyJohn

          Re: copyright laws are now anti-public

          "You think with no copyright everyone is going to share your work more? Why?" -- Because they can, they might.

          "Generally speaking criminals don't imprison people" -- Really? You must live in a nice place.

          I never said my lack of repute as an author was due to copyright issues. I merely made the point that I am a lowly peasant and not some rich artist who cannot bear the thought of anyone experiencing his work without paying him, even decades after he produced it. As others have said before, my plumber does not bill me every time I flush the toilet, yet to a rich singer with water spraying all over his million-dollar mansion at two in the morning a plumber is probably more precious to him than a platinum disc.

          In the final analysis, it seems clear to me that the current copyright regime can only be maintained through ruthless, dictatorial control of the internet by the American MAFIAA, and I am sure few here would think that a good thing. Even with such a global dictatorship I see no possibiity of the thugs stopping people sharing digital information. Therefore copyright needs to be changed, and abolition is a bold change that I, and others, think would be of long-term overall benefit to the majority of society, because it would create a fresh starting point for new concepts. The MAFIAA may not have grasped that the world has changed since the 1950s, but I think most others have.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: copyright laws are now anti-public

        Rapacious greed? Is that like big giants, or watery water?

        1. SleepyJohn
          Headmaster

          Re: copyright laws are now anti-public

          Free Online dictionary #3 gives us "greed that subsists on live prey".

  12. Vimes

    I wonder what Andrew Orlowski's take on the apparent abuse of the copyright system would be?

  13. Ben Rosenthal
    Pirate

    I don't really like his stuff, but I think I'll steal it and pass on a few copies for the sake of it now.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand this

    Seriously, this makes no sense to me today (maybe not enough coffee yet)

    "As we reported in September 2011, the 20-year extension is only available to works published before the expiration of the 50-year copyright term.

    Sony's name for the new release is therefore an accurate description of the reason for its existence: had the company not emitted the collection it would have lost the rights to cash in on it for another 20 years."

    Can someone explain this to me? The works were published back in the 60s. So reissuing the same recordings doesn't extend their copyright term from 50 to 70 years at all - does it? They were already published before the 50 year term expired, in the 60s ....

    1. El Presidente
      Thumb Up

      Re: I don't understand this

      It hasn't been explained well in this article and there's no link to the article which did better explain the rules.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: I don't understand this

      I share your confusion, but perhaps the law is phrased such that the 20-year extension starts running from the date of last re-issue. Therefore, expect to see stuff re-issued 49 years or so after first publication.

    3. Tom_

      Re: I don't understand this

      Isn't the point that they're releasing recordings that hadn't been released during the initial fifty year period? OK, they're the same songs, but this one has a bit where Bob cleared his throat and that one had a bit where a spider farted in the corner of the recording studio, etc.

      1. Mr Tumnus

        Re: I don't understand this

        Hi Tom,

        Don't think that is it, no ...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Mr Tumnus

          Re: I don't understand this

          Actually, I'm wrong, looks like Tom's right;

          "Only about 100 copies of the four-CD set were produced, with sparse packaging and an insert listing the details of the set’s 86 tracks, all previously unreleased studio outtakes and live recordings from 1962 and 1963. "

          From the NYT - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/08/arts/music/sony-issues-bob-dylan-recordings-to-keep-european-copyright.html?_r=0

          1. Michael Strorm

            Somewhere between a "good faith" release and an ashcan copy?

            "Only about 100 copies of the four-CD set were produced, with sparse packaging and an insert listing the details of the set’s 86 tracks, all previously unreleased studio outtakes and live recordings from 1962 and 1963. "

            100 copies is still very low, even for a grossly overpriced Dylan-obsessive-fanboy-milking release (there are plenty of them out there).

            FWIW, I wonder if each of the copies has (somehow) been given its own watermark so that they can identify where any leaked illegal copies might have come from? Whether it would be practical to trace ownership and assign blame of even 100 copies though, is questionable.

            (Reason I ask is that if they produced and sold few enough, it might theoretically be possible to stop the recordings getting anywhere near the "general public" even if they had- legally- "released" them. Especially if they'd (say) agreed to buy them back from the pre-arranged buyers, i.e. de facto record company employees).

            So, while this gives the impression of being something akin to an "ashcan release" (*), one wonders that since they had to sell it anyway- and decided to sell 100- why they didn't just manufacture and sell even more of them and get the money anyway, even if that wasn't the reason for releasing it.

            (*) i.e. Something released solely to fulfil a legal obligation to avoid losing rights, and not a "good faith" attempt to genuinely sell it. The definition might not apply precisely here, but the general principle is along the same lines:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashcan_copy

          2. Pristine Audio
            FAIL

            Re: I don't understand this

            NYT: "And there’s a catch, a “use it or lose it” provision: recordings cannot benefit from the 20-year extension unless they were published before the 50-year term expired."

            This clause was dropped before the bill was passed through the European Parliament. Someone at Sony, it would appear, missed this small but vital detail. The release of this material in this way is therefore pointless unless the use-it-or-lose-it clause is reinstated as per the original draft bill.

            NYT: "The change is not yet in effect but will be by 2014."

            It's projected to come into effect in November 2013, thereby protecting all recordings from 1963. Recordings issued ("published" to be precise) in 1962 went into the public domain last week.

            It strikes me this is a "belt-and-braces" approach from Sony based on a misinterpretation of the law passed and requiring ratification by each of the 27 member states of the EU by November. They could just as easily have made a proper release of the Dylan material, but chose to be bloody-minded about it instead, effectively encouraging piracy among those who just have to have it. Says a lot about the Sony mindset, doesn't it?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I don't understand this

              "Says a lot about the Sony mindset, doesn't it?"

              Not really. At most it says they misunderstood an EU law and erred on the side of "let's protect our commercial interests for the next 20 years". If that's the mindset, not sure that's a bad thing in business, is it?

              1. Goat Jam
                Pirate

                Re: I don't understand this

                The "mindset" here is along the lines of "we couldn't be bothered with properly releasing this stuff so the Bob Dylan fans could expand on their collections but we need to release a handful of copies to ensure nobody else is allowed to satiate the Bob Dylan fans desires"

                If they think the recordings have commercial value then they should bloody well offer them to the market so they can legally purchase them. By failing to do that whilst taking steps to ensure nobody else can fill the gap they are proving themselves to be the anti-consumer asshats that we already knew they are.

                Torrents ahoy!

  15. Patrick R
    IT Angle

    concept of being paid for -good- work.

    So how does this help the concept of artists needing/deserving to be paid/making a living, incentive to creation and all that stuff ? All we see is old and rich celebrities getting all the money, attention, bizz buzz for things they are not doing anymore (creating) since decades. Who's in the spotlight today ? Crap artists from today and old rockers from the eighties (you know, those filling the Mega Arena in your town in 2012 and 2013). Where are the good artists from today ? Why can't they make a decent living ? Because nobody cares? Because people are fighting for old folks to get richer? Is it easier than find and promote new artists? Probably.

    1. Gav
      Happy

      Re: concept of being paid for -good- work.

      Congratulations Patrick, you have passed the threshold into being an old fart who complains about modern music, how no-one writes a decent tune any more, and its all just noise.

      Don't feel bad about it. You join a long established company of fellow old farts, established around 1911. Thousands join it everyday, usually when they have forgetten how 20 years ago they used to laugh at old farts who complained about modern music.

      BTW, there are plenty of good artists from today in the spotlight and appearing mega-arenas in your town. You just haven't heard of them because... well, see above for my previous point.

    2. Robert Helpmann??
      Childcatcher

      Re: concept of being paid for -good- work.

      All we see is old and rich celebrities getting all the money, attention, bizz buzz for things they are not doing anymore (creating) since decades.

      No, this is Bob Dylan we are talking about here. He just won't shut up. To quote Wikipedia (with apologies), "On September 11, 2012, Dylan released his 35th studio album, Tempest." I've heard excerpts. He hasn't changed much since he started, but he is still pumping it out. He also released a variety of older work recently, too. People buy it, so it seems the concept of "all the market can bear" is in play.

  16. Old Tom
    Stop

    'expiration'

    Please never use this abomination of a word again. El Reg is not a Toys'R'Us receipt.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Boffin

      @Old Tom Re: 'expiration'

      Expiration: [...] 5. The coming to an end; termination, close. 1562 - Shorter OED.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'expiration'

      Err... It's used in backup and archive quite a lot, actually...

  17. Wombling_Free
    Mushroom

    only 100 copies?

    Well, it IS Bob Dylan, there must only be about 100 people left who care about the aging whiner.

  18. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    FAIL

    I have a current problem with copyrights....

    Everyone needs a hobby! One of mine is making wooden model boats. A little while ago, I became interested in documenting models of old kits from the 1960s, a period of great technical change in the hobby, and hence historically interesting.

    These kits were made by small companies - often one-man set-ups. When they went closed down the company assets (which included the plans copyrights) would usually not have been sold - they obviously had no commercial value! So they will have devolved to the company owner's heirs. Because of the huge increase in copyright length, I have been having to obtain the rights to get these forgotten parts of our history published on a web site.

    What actually happens is that the people I contact do not realise that they may have inherited these rights. When I explain to them that I believe that they may have them, the first thing they think about is whether they have value, and whether they can sell them. Then, the next thing that they realise is that they can do nothing without consulting a lawyer, because they need to prove ownership. And inheritance and IP lawyers do not come cheap. So they refuse to go any further.

    They are not going to spend any money on determining the status of some long-lost great-grandfather's document, which I believe to be of only historical value. They are not going to give me permission to publish, because I might be a scam artist come to trick them out of a fortune. So the data cannot be published or distributed, and will soon be forgotten completely.

    Thank you, Mr Disney....

    1. Weeble

      Re: I have a current problem with copyrights....

      Ah, but...

      If no-one knows (or can prove) who owns them then that presumably makes them "orphans".

      So, within a year or two, you should be able to do whatever you want to do with them?

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: I have a current problem with copyrights....

        "...If no-one knows (or can prove) who owns them then that presumably makes them "orphans"..."

        I have tried that - I am following the EU Memorandum of Agreement on Orphan works. The problem with that is that the 'orphans' concept might work for an object of completely unknown provenance, but if there is a known creator then by definition all assets must be passed on as inheritance. So, if a 'Bill Smith' designs a plan and then dies, you MUST assume that the copyright is passed on to his heirs and assignees. That's what the MOA says. The fact that the heirs and assignees never knew this and have no obvious way of proving it is irrelevant.

        The only way you can actually come to any conclusion on this is to undertake major research work (which I do, as an unpaid hobby) and then pass the results through a court for a decision. Which would be prohibitively expensive.

        The fundamental problem is that copyright has now been extended from its original term of a small number of years to two lifetimes. One lifetime is probably not that damaging to historians, because we are still close enough to, say, Patrick Moore, for people to be able to assess his contribution to TV astronomy quite well. The minute you go to two lifetimes you are effectively preventing the free distribution of documentation by anyone who was alive during the time you are interested in.

        From one lifetime ago there is still a rich set of documentation. Many readers here will have mementos of their grandparents - medals, stories, paperwork of some kind. Putting that under copyright means that it cannot be easily aggregated into databases which would preserve the information. It has to wait until a second generation dies. And by then it is much more likely that old papers will be thrown out in the rubbish rather than preserved - if, indeed, the paper has lasted that long...

        1. Weeble

          Re: I have a current problem with copyrights....

          " ... but if there is a known creator then by definition all assets must be passed on as inheritance ..."

          Thank you for that observation.

          Most of what I've read about orphans claims that "if you couldn't find the author (or estate) with reasonable diligence - you could help yourself", which implies the author is already known - but, based on the MOA, nothing with a name on it can ever be an "orphan" while it's less than a couple of lifetimes old (and at current rates of extension will never become available).

          I have similar, those less highly developed, concerns to your own (the archiving and making available of material of historical interest) so I can sympathise with your position and am more than a little disturbed by the conclusions.

          Perhaps the archivists perennial problem of digital archive longevity will become irrelevant once there is nothing to put in them.

          1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: I have a current problem with copyrights....

            So long as a company was bought up by another bigger one, the problem is not so bad. Amerang own the Keil Kraft name in the UK and were happy to provide permission for me to publish, and the vast Hobbico Inc of the US have also been most helpful.

            It's the small one-man operations (which were probably never even considered in commercial copyright terms) which have really been hit by this. As usual, it was a 'big business and government' move with no consideration of the little guys.

            Incidentally, Amerang are going to bring out a selection of the old Keil Kraft aeroplane kits this year, if anyone wants to return to their childhood...

    2. Red Bren

      Re: I have a current problem with copyrights....

      Did Walt himself return from the dead to downvote you?

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: I have a current problem with copyrights....

        ...Did Walt himself return from the dead to downvote you?...

        I suspect that it's someone who was frightened by a model boat when they were a little child...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm...

    It's amazing how many hippies turn out to be ruthless capitalist businessmen once they've got a taste for cold hard filthy cash, consider:

    Bob Dylan

    Ben and Gerry

    Google

    Apple

    Starbucks

    Amazon

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm...

      "It's amazing how many hippies turn out to be ruthless capitalist businessmen once they've got a taste for cold hard filthy cash"

      Alternately, it's amazing how many ruthless capitalist businessmen managed to get rich by masquerading as hippies. :-)

      In truth, this somewhat cynical view applies more to some than others (e.g. Richard Branson was *always* a businessman from a somewhat privileged background, even if he half-believed he was a hippie). And to play Devil's advocate, if I was Dylan, I'd probably want to make money from my records if anyone was.

      That said, he's still a hypocrite who enjoyed a curmudgeonly rant about the sound quality of digital music, then took Apple's money to advertise iTunes anyway:-

      http://www.chefelf.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=5638

  20. Graham Marsden

    "Sony has been unashamedly cynical"

    But at least honest...

    1. Abot13

      Re: "Sony has been unashamedly cynical"

      Sony being honest, did the medication finaly kick in or did they pull a muscle doing that?

  21. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    WTF?

    A curiosity only worthwhile to Sony and collectors

    For those that actually listen to music, it's likely that they already own or "own" these tracks. I fail to understand why anyone except maybe the most die-hard audiophile or collector still buys music in this format. I can download a non-DRM-encumbered high quality digital copy of pretty much any song I want, from several places, and pick and choose just the songs I like, then play them on any device I choose. Or get a whole album, including some tracks that might be dogs, still cheaper than buying a disc. To say nothing of the wastefulness of actually manufacturing a disc in this day and age.

    As I side note, I resolved a while ago to never own another Sony product. Sony=great hardware, but at a premium price and with no consideration of consumer rights or convenience these days.

    1. Tim Parker

      Re: A curiosity only worthwhile to Sony and collectors

      "For those that actually listen to music, it's likely that they already own or "own" these tracks."

      Given the amount of previously unreleased material, I doubt it (at least prior to being published).

      "I fail to understand why anyone except maybe the most die-hard audiophile or collector still buys music in this format. "

      ..perhaps you have a very limited imagination ? Who knows.... *shrug*

  22. b166er

    The mugs that are buying this are letting the rest of us down.

  23. hi_robb
    Big Brother

    Hmmm

    How many copyright changes must a man talk down

    Before they become law to a man.

  24. Poor Coco
    Trollface

    Been watching US news…

    Is this what they mean by “the fiscal Cliff”?

  25. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Flashback

    Anyone remember Monty Python's "Contractual Obligations" album?

  26. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I saw a program over Christmas about the songs that have made the most money all over the world and Happy birthday was at the top position. The original writers died years ago but yet because the big music companies lobby the governments its still in copyright meaning technically if you sing it at a birthday then publish a video online of the party you should pay royalties for doing that.

    1. Andrew Norton

      Actually, the original writers died before it was even copyrighted.

      IIRc, the tune was written by one sister in 1896, for a tune called 'good morning to you'. Then another sister came up with the birthday words a bit later.

      In/around 1930, a THIRD sister copyrighted the song, after the other two were dead. It's her grandson that gets a significant portion of those royalties.

      Of course, other evidence points to the copyright claims these days not being valid, so who knows.... noone wants to test it in court.

  27. Comments are attributed to your handle

    Weird Al's Bob Dylan spoof is good enough (and accurate enough) for me.

  28. fung0
    Mushroom

    Kudos, Sony!

    I think it's really clever of Sony to issue this unique pro-copyright album in such tiny quantities... ensuring that the only way 99.9% of Dylan fans will ever hear it is to pirate it. Brilliant!! Sony, you've certainly struck a blow for copyright... right to the back of your own cranium.

  29. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    I'm pleased to say this doesn't affect me at all. I've found I quite legally have access to an incredibly wide range of excellent quality music that is both original, and enjoyable. Thank you CC musicians.

    P.S. Now that the expensive season is over I must make a few donations again.

  30. MrRtd
    WTF?

    Madness

    Wasn't copyright intended to benefit the artist / creator?

    Nowadays it's purely for the benefit of corporations, a terrible perversion of the original intention.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Gimp

    Frank Zappa

    "Wana buy some mandies* Bob?"

    Horney Jewish Princess (me thinks).

    *(short for Mandrax)

    The Gimp Suit - Pony boy loves slavery to the system.

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