Saturday, September 17, 2011

Public domain now less public

So the EU has extended copyright protection on recordings from 50 to 70 years. If this were a hundred years ago I would have a cartoon in which a young woman representing the public domain is ravished from behind by a leering Paul McCartney. You know the sort of thing.
Gramophone reports on the story with a typical rhetorical subtitle, "But is it good news for classical music fans?" Careful, Gramophone! Don't want to upset the majors! (But try asking this: was it bad news that the recordings of 1960 went out of copyright this year?)
It's pointless now to rehash all the many arguments against the new law, but it's nice to see the Guardian elaborate on a key point that the lawmakers seemed wholly blind to: the law's supposed to be of great benefit to musicians, but they're not usually the copyright holders.
Next question: now that for a 20-year period no recordings will enter the public domain, do you think illegal file-sharing will increase or decrease? Anyone?

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