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EU Proposes Retroactive Copyright Extension

samzenpus posted about 6 years ago | from the nothing-lasts-forever dept.

The Almighty Buck 514

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has unveiled a plan to retroactively extend musical copyrights by 45 years, which would make EU musical copyrights last 95 years total. Why? They're worried that musicians won't continue to collect royalties when they retire and this will give them an additional 45 years during which they won't have to produce any new music. Perhaps the only good point is that the retroactive extensions won't take effect for any works which aren't marketed in the first year after the extension. Additionally, while there are many non-musical retirees wishing they could get paid for 95 years after they finish working, McCreevy has not announced any new plans to help them."

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514 comments

Who really gets paid? (5, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 6 years ago | (#24224767)

Plain old "musicians" rarely recieve royalties; royalties are generally paid to songwriters and publishers. Of course usually those royalties end up getting paid to the Big Media companies that manage to obtain ownership of the copyrights and publishing, not to the artists. But "think of the poor, aging artists!" probably elicits a bit more sympathy than "think of the record companies!".

Re:Who really gets paid? (5, Interesting)

TRRosen (720617) | about 6 years ago | (#24224829)

Exactly. Artists never get any money from royalties after the first few years because the labels take most of it through creative bookkeeping. The artists only get money when there's a lot coming in.

Add to that the fact that most new artists lose all there copyrights to the labels by contract and you'll find the only ones not getting screwed by the extension is the labels. Infact for the most part many artists will lose more money since the labels "own" most of their songs they will have to pay royalties to the labels every time the perform them!!!

Re:Who really gets paid? (5, Funny)

Godji (957148) | about 6 years ago | (#24225275)

Who the hell modded you funny of all things?

Re:Who really gets paid? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225317)

Wow does anyone actually know about the subject or do they think studio muscians are out to screw them? How many out there hope to retire, raise your hands? Okay Muscians actually do get paid and this isn't about record companies. This is the poor sap playing his ass off. The summory makes a stupid statement about getting royalties 95 years after they stop working. Did they even read their own summory???? It's about extending it 45 years because say you work 60 years, common with musicians, then retire you still get paid for your earlier work. Not everything is about the evil empire of record labels some of it is about working stiffs that barely make a living. For every pop star there's a 1,000 that barely pay rent. Just tour? Say you are 85 and can't stand anymore and arthritus is so bad you can't play? Is the answer welfare so you don't have to pay for music? If you have a right to a retirement then why don't they?

Re:Who really gets paid? (3, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 6 years ago | (#24224835)

As the internet changes the face of music distribution and marketing and artists start to distribute independently of the major labels, this will be a good thing. Artists should continue to receive compensation for their creations for as long as people are enjoying them (though copyrights should probably be released after the artists' deaths).

Re:Who really gets paid? (5, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about 6 years ago | (#24224911)

Artists should continue to receive compensation for their creations for as long as people are enjoying them?

Why? Copyright is not some kind of inalienable natural right. It was never even thought up until a couple of hundred years ago. In ancient Rome, when poets' recitations were transcribed, mass-copied by amanuenses, and sold in the marketplace, they never saw a dime in royalties, but it didn't bother them. The only protest we hear from antiquity is when Martial lampooned a talentless aristocrat who was putting his own name on copies of Martial's verse. The American Founding Fathers enshrined copyright in law because they thought it was good for the public, not because people have some absolute right to it. And the concept is very eurocentric, for outside the West, to this very day, copyright makes absolutely no sense. Try explaining to a person in Eastern Europe, Asia, or South America that they are doing something wrong by downloading or copying a CD, and they will look at you like you're a lunatic.

Re:Who really gets paid? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225103)

If you create something, you should be entitled to set the terms of how it's distributed, whether it be music, software, literature, or whatever.

Re:Who really gets paid? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225143)

Should this apply to fundamental truths as well, like mathematical theorems? You're insane if you think that.

Re:Who really gets paid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225197)

Insane in memmmmbraaane... Insane in the brain!... Insane in memmmmbr... What? I was doing what? Ah... ok here is the money... Can I... No? Why? Need to pay you again? But..., *sigh* ok then, I'll shut up.

Re:Who really gets paid? (5, Insightful)

Potor (658520) | about 6 years ago | (#24225221)

Math may be creative in the sense of thinking of new approaches, etc., but I would hold that this creative process only leads to discoveries, not creations. In other words, something that was already there, waiting to be discovered, a truth as you call it. That's different than artistic creation, which does add something that was not there in the first place.

Re:Who really gets paid? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225299)

Please explain how "discovering" certain numbers / symbols work well in certain situations is any different to "discovering" certain notes / words work well in certain situations, to the extent that the "artist" is entitled to free-load for the rest of their lives, while the mathematician is not.

Re:Who really gets paid? (4, Insightful)

Potor (658520) | about 6 years ago | (#24225385)

You'll note I said nothing about copyright in my post: I suspect we're on the same page there (i.e., I think this proposed plan is insane).

As a scientific realist, I simply don't want art and science to be seen as aiming at the same end. But anyway, the effects of certain notes will always end in unpredicable results, since the goal is to make people react, and nobody knows how anyone will react. If you read the reviews linked in my sig, you'll discover I have no idea how anyone can listen to top 40 music, and yet that music is made precisely to be universally loved. Nevertheless, it's not, and thus it is a good example of the unpredictability of musical effects.

On the other hand, the effects that science strives for do not depend on subjective reaction, and thus, at the level of their aim, are predictable, reproduceable, etc.

So, that is the basis for difference between the two. And thus, whereas the scientist is discovering what is already there (and hence universal), the artist is creating something new - and to that extent offers something novel to the world. Copyright, for better or for worse, is designed to protect and stimulate that use of the notes and scales (etc.) already in the public domain, just as patents are to stimulate and protect commerical applications of scientific discoveries.

Re:Who really gets paid? (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | about 6 years ago | (#24225387)

I think the GP did a perfectly good job of explaining it. Doing mathematics is uncovering fundemental truths about the universe. You cannot copyright them but you can potentially copyright your particular description of them (eg in a mathematical paper). This does not stop somebody else explaining the same thing in a different way. In the same way artists do not copyright the aspects of the human condition that their work is aiming to describe, but do copyright the way in which they express them.

Re:Who really gets paid? (3, Insightful)

robbak (775424) | about 6 years ago | (#24225311)

This is interesting. If Ms. mathematician produces a novel-length mathematical model that predicts airflow over North America with unprecedented accuracy, I would like for copyright to exist in that mathematical model. It is a useful science, will be very useful to all humanity when it hits the public domain, and she should become rich on it, as thanks for her useful work.

However, there is no real difference between her model and E=mc^2, or G=Mm/r^2 - just complexity - a continuous scale of complexity, as well as accuracy (remember, E=mc^2 tells us that G=Mm/r^2 is wrong!) - who is to say that this deserves a copyright, but that doesn't?
 

Re:Who really gets paid? (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | about 6 years ago | (#24225365)

Copyright could never exist for the model, but would exist for the way in which the model is presented in the book. It is possible that a patent may exist for the model or its application, but I don't know enough about patent law to know how that would work.

Re:Who really gets paid? (5, Insightful)

robbak (775424) | about 6 years ago | (#24225207)

If you create something, you have a choice whether to show somebody else. You have the choice to distribute it, or not to distribute it.

Once you give a copy to somebody else, then, for all intents and purposes, you no longer have any control over it.

Copyright gives you an artificial limited monopoly over distribution - nothing more - simply because this encourages persons to create and distribute works. Once works have been distributed, copyright has done its work. It is then a liability to society.

Copyright's purpose is to increase the amount of works in the public domain. Anything that reduces the flow of works to the public domain (like copyright extensions) is against the purpose of copyright.

(With regard to software - for any protection under copyright, I believe that the source code for the work should have to be released. Otherwise, copyright makes no sense, as the works have very limited use when they hit the public domain.)

Re:Who really gets paid? (3, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | about 6 years ago | (#24225391)

I disagree. There should be a short period of protection, after which the product of your creativity is put into the public domain. The period should be set based on things like how valuable to the wider public that kind of thing is versus the need to create incentives in the first place.

Pharma for example, does and rightly should, only be protected for a relatively short period, 6 years or so. Beyond that, it's in everybody's interests for medicine to be available at the lowest possible delivery price.

I don't see why music and movies need such an insanely long period of protection. There should be a short period of exclusivity (say 5 to 10 years) after which it is in the public domain. If your music is good enough that people want it and you can't make a profit in a decade then bad luck.

You know what you get when you try to set up a complex set of rules protecting the output of human creativity? Modern copyright and intellectual property laws.

Re:Who really gets paid? (1)

Standard User 79 (1209050) | about 6 years ago | (#24225179)

Copyright is 'eurocentric' because europeans invented the printing press, which started copyright laws. No other society in history could produce works w/o a scribe.

Also, there was no such thing has mass-copied in ancient rome. Slaves did the copying by hand.

Oh and the rest of the world understands the concept of copyright, especially the creators themselves.

Re:Who really gets paid? (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | about 6 years ago | (#24225305)

More precisely, the American Founding Fathers enshrined copyright in law because it had already been enshrined in their motherland, Great Britain, down to the exact same term (14 years) as in the 1709 Statute of Anne. Incidentally, the debates in the House of Commons on this topic a bit later by the famous poet and writer Macaulay (mid-19th century) are very instructive to read. You can find them on baen.com, which is where my attention was originally drawn to them.

Re:Who really gets paid? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 6 years ago | (#24225319)

The only reason I can't use your car or house when you aren't using it is because of artificial laws saying I can't and granting you protection from such actions - whats the difference? I deprive you of something? Why is that important? Surely sharing is a good thing?

Re:Who really gets paid? (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#24224955)

No, copyrights should always be a fixed term. Otherwise, the artists couldn't sell the rights to another entity because there'd always be that lingering risk the artist would die the day after they ink the contract, making the rights just purchased worthless.

Further, artists late in life would not be able to receive the "full" compensation they are entitled to by selling in one-lump sum because actuarial tables would highlight the risk mentioned in the previous paragraph, and that means they probably wouldn't live to collect the full amount, either.

Now, I will agree that record companies should either buy the rights OR sell distribution services, but not both, and in the latter case, the artists should be able to control the price by choosing which services to purchase.

Re:Who really gets paid? (5, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | about 6 years ago | (#24225271)

for as long as people are enjoying them

Why? Chairmakers don't receive compensations for as long as people are enjoying their chairs. Builders don't receive compensation for as long as people enjoy their houses.

How about this; people get paid for working, and the state interfering in the market to create monopolies favouring certain classes of work is a particularly bad idea.

If you want to argue for why certain groups need extra support, be intellectually honest and handle it as an ordinary welfare system. If you think creative work is particularly heavy and dangerous, or particularly valuable to society, perhaps they should get a lower retirement age? Argue the case and fund it through ordinary state budgets, not hidden away in the uncounted taxation of intellectual monopoly rights.

Re:Who really gets paid? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 6 years ago | (#24225373)

for as long as people are enjoying them

Why? Chairmakers don't receive compensations for as long as people are enjoying their chairs. Builders don't receive compensation for as long as people enjoy their houses.

Builders certainly do receive compensation for as long as they wish, if they handle the transaction correctly - its called renting, and the builder retains ownership of the property while receiving a perpetual income from it.

For what its worth, an artist can also go down both routes - rent the song out to you, or sell the rights to the song completely. In the first instance he gets a perpetual income that is smaller per unit, in the second instance he gets a one-time income that is much greater. A builder can either sell the house or rent it out, and achieve the same result.

So, what do you want to do? Pay thousands of dollars per song and have complete freedom, or pay cents a song and have restrictions? Your choice, you can infact do both *right now*.

Re:Who really gets paid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225421)

Artists should continue to receive compensation for their creations for as long as people are enjoying them

Rubbish. I am a Slashdot troll artist, and although I am frequently modded up to +5 Funny, I receive no compensation, ever. Yet people are still free to enjoy my creations for years to come.

This is never a problem though, as I get paid for doing actual work, like everyone else in the rat race. This is why you can download my comments for free, but you have to pay to see my live shows (Anonymous Coward Unplugged, Anonymous Coward at the Abu Dhabi Arena, check my website for more).

Since it isn't the artists that receive the compensation -- in most cases -- from extended periods of record sales, why shouldn't we stop this music industry price gouging and make it work like every other industry? My guess is this plan is supported by big media lobby groups, and few mega-bands (that means you Bono from U2). Also note that the proposer is the infamous Charlie McCreevy: the bastard who brought software patents to the EU.

My tag for this article: corruption.

Who really gets paid? (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 years ago | (#24224853)

Here's a novel idea: abolish copyright. [abolishcopyright.com] . We should act now before this gets even more dumb.

Re:Who really gets paid? (4, Interesting)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | about 6 years ago | (#24224907)

but without copyright, the creative commons and GPL wouldn't work, these things rely on copyright law.

personally, have no problem with an automatic 14 year copyright term being applied to any creative endeavor, hell, maybe even throw in a one-time-only 14 year extension for a fee. but after that, everything should enter public domain.

I can't be the 1st person to think of this system...

Re:Who really gets paid? (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | about 6 years ago | (#24224935)

but without copyright, the creative commons and GPL wouldn't work, these things rely on copyright law.

If there were no copyright of software, RMS would have never needed to create the GPL to begin with. It's well documentation that through the GPL Stallman was only trying to restore the state of affairs that existed before copyright on code became an issue.

Re:Who really gets paid? (1)

PakProtector (115173) | about 6 years ago | (#24225035)

You betray your ignorance of the workings of copyright. Without the copyright, and therefore without the GPL, you could not force people to share their work, which is the purpose of the GPL.

Re:Who really gets paid? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 6 years ago | (#24225059)

Without laws hampering the freedom of information, an employee could just bring code home from work and share it with the world.

Re:Who really gets paid? (1)

PakProtector (115173) | about 6 years ago | (#24225153)

Yeah, and everyone he shared that code with wouldn't have to. If you wanted that kind of world, you could just use the BSD license.

Re:Who really gets paid? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#24225257)

Abolishing copyright wouldn't automatically abolish trade secrets.

Re:Who really gets paid? (4, Insightful)

robbak (775424) | about 6 years ago | (#24225331)

Interesting point: One of the reasons for copyrights (and patents too) is to reduce reliance on trade secrets. Reveal your secrets and get (limited) government protection for them.

Remembering things like that can make patents and copyrights make sense. Not the current implementations, mind you.....

(I'm commenting a bit much in this discussion)

Re:Who really gets paid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225281)

That doesn't work, because employees are usually under contract not to share their employer's "secret" code. Actually, the sourcecode would probably be regarded as a trade secret and therefore also be protected by the applicable laws.

Re:Who really gets paid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225323)

And get his ass kicked out the door, and probably sued as well.

Re:Who really gets paid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225139)

You betray your ignorance of the purposes of the GPL, asshat.

There is NO "FORCE" with GPL software - you are perfectly free NOT to use the GPL software and reimplement from scratch instead. Only if you take the SHORTCUT of using the GPL work AND distribute do you have to release your own work derived from it, at least while copyright law is valid (even then, it's not the GPL forcing you, it's the law. The GPL grants you permissions you wouldn't otherwise have under the law!)

Plenty of us believe that's fair enough. But furthermore - in the absence of copyright (and patent) law, there would be a FREE MARKET. With closed source software suppliers competing with open source software suppliers in such a free market, my money is on the open source software suppliers. Sure, some consumers will be dumb enough to buy closed source, so it won't go away.

So - "without copyright law the GPL would be unenforceable. It would also be unnecessary".

 

Re:Who really gets paid? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#24225277)

Buy? Without copyright there wouldn't be any buying, they'd just download commercial software off the internet. Well, if it were to exist. Won't see any expensive dev teams work on software like that if it can't be sold. Maybe some small-time teams producing some simple stuff, maybe some to-order teams that onlys the megacorps can afford to write their tools for them.

Copyleft (1)

Morosoph (693565) | about 6 years ago | (#24225193)

but without copyright, the creative commons and GPL wouldn't work, these things rely on copyright law.

Given that these things are a kind of legal judo, I don't think that that's a big problem. It's a little like the question "What should I do, Sensei, if the assailant doesn't attack?"

Re:Who really gets paid? (-1, Troll)

wiIIyhiII (1327445) | about 6 years ago | (#24224931)

Who really gets paid? Bill Gates.

You can be sure that Micro$oft is behind this. M$ thrives on taking away your freedoms, DRM is like manna to them. Without copyright, all that DRM would be useless, and they wouldn't stand a chance against GNU/Linux.

Now do the maths (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225263)

50 year copyright means that you'd be retiring on the copyrights if extended only if you did them when you were 15.

95 years means that, on average, if you did the work more than 10 years before your birth, you could expect to still be alive when copyright expires.

So why 50?

Apple, Who Sucks Your Balls ?? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24224769)

The journalism community in general-and tech journalists in particular-discourage free enterprise and real competition. They are the worst kind of bandwagon-hoppers and hero-worshippers. No wonder the public does not think highly of the profession.

This thought is triggered by the ridiculous over-coverage of the Apple iPhone in a market full of new phones that get zero coverage from these same people. The Swedish Neonode, for example, brings out a laundry list of incredibly unique features, and it gets only a few mentions. The same goes for little Helio.

While a lot of this can be blamed on the fact that Neonode and Helio don't have the same buzz machine Apple has working for it, that should be beside the point. I say this because all of the hotshot big-market journalists-especially the ones working for large-circulation daily newspapers-brag about how they are not influenced by PR people and they like to do everything themselves. Meanwhile, they all flock to PR-driven Apple. Which of these jokers has written anything in detail about the Samsung iPhone lookalike?

And where are the editors in all this? A few opinion makers, hand-selected by Apple to get phones in advance with the expectation of a glowing review, and the editors think this is just peachy? And they wonder why blogs are so popular. Perhaps it's because you can get a less-corrupted opinion.

The Apple situation is the worst example, though. To me, it's almost a case of "Let's see how far we can go with these bozos." The corporations have already managed to use dubious nondisclosure agreements to get the media to do what they want, when they want. Complaints such as mine usually result in someone saying I'm jealous that I am not handpicked by Apple to do its bidding, of course. I think not. Another reaction will be for people on the handpicked list to criticize the product gratuitously, just to show they are objective. But why are they so preoccupied by Apple in the first place?

This same obsession happened with Microsoft during the heyday of computer magazines. All of a sudden all anyone wrote about was Microsoft. Readers would complain that everyone was on the Microsoft payroll or that the company got so much attention because it "advertised a lot." I'd always laughed at these accusations, since Microsoft hardly advertised at all. Why buy a cow when milk is free? They didn't have to advertise since they were getting it free from the editorial staff.

The irony is that giving too much attention to Microsoft allowed the company to take over the place; there was nobody left to actually advertise, and all the computer magazines shrank in size. Everyone then blamed the Internet. When people do that I hand them a copy of Vogue and ask why it's so thick. It's because there is a lot of competition in the fashion business. One company has never been held above the rest to the detriment of the others.

Mod parent up. (0, Offtopic)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | about 6 years ago | (#24225091)

Why is it that when someone actually nails the idea perfectly, they get modded down in some fashion or other. The parent should be +5 insightful off topic :)

He was off topic, but also very very insightful. True workings of the market. Bad press is still good press. Like I kept saying 2 years ago, "Rather than Bash Windows, Promote Linux."

Perhaps now, some of those sales hating geeks out there will get it through their skulls that those "evil" marketing droids might know something after all :)

Re:Mod parent up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225427)

Hm, that reads familiar... JD, is that you?

Enforce it how? (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | about 6 years ago | (#24224775)

They can claim copyright for a bazillion years, still won't address the issue that it is impossible to enforce without crushing peoples freedom of speech. Knowing the EU, which is every bit as much a tool of business as the US government, they will do exactly that.

Re:Enforce it how? (0)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | about 6 years ago | (#24224837)

You guys have plenty of 'tools' working against you. Take note of all the anti-americanism. That came more from media outlets than anything. Why? It's easier to get a stronger bond to the European Union when there's a new enemy or something new to fear.

It's all the same.

Re:Enforce it how? (4, Insightful)

Per Wigren (5315) | about 6 years ago | (#24225005)

Stop complaining about the "anti-americanism". Personally I'm not at all against Americans but very much against American politics (black curtain authorian corporatism and fear mongering). Except for a few nutcases I'm pretty sure that applies to most people you call "anti-american". Putting aside the non-stop war mongering, the biggest reason is that USA (the government, not the people) send armies of lobbyists to Europe trying to close down our freedoms to chase ghosts.

This law proposal is an obvious result of heavy American lobbyism, and it's just an example out of thousands. Yes, I blame European politicians just as much (if not more) for falling into the trap.

Thank you for stopping communism, bla bla bla, in the past. Whatever. That doesn't change what is happening right now.

I know a lot of Americans and they are all fantastic persons. It's all about the government and politics, not the people.

children's children (1)

slothman32 (629113) | about 6 years ago | (#24224777)

I know why.
They need to give their children and their children's children money who didn't earn it.
Unfortunately it won't only last 3 months.
Maybe 4 dozen years.

The summary overlooked the other reason (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 6 years ago | (#24224779)

since if music is freely available to everyone, the government cannot tax the sales or the income of the artist.

Re:The summary overlooked the other reason (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24224817)

I reside in the European Union and listen mainly to recordings of contemporary art music that were produced with the aid of state subsidies, since they probably wouldn't be profitable on their own. Even if the government taxes the sale of the CD, it's still a net loss for them. Governments here have no qualm with offering free music. Their support of the arts is one thing that keeps quality of life constantly high here.

Re:The summary overlooked the other reason (2, Interesting)

ZombieWomble (893157) | about 6 years ago | (#24225039)

Governments have no qualms with offering some free music, I'm sure. But I'd be willing to wager that the income they derive from taxes on the various bits of the entertainment industry which would be affected by an abolition of copyright is orders of magnitude greater than whatever it is they give to support music as art.

50 years wasn't long enough?!? (5, Insightful)

feedayeen (1322473) | about 6 years ago | (#24224805)

With a 50 year long copyright, if I produced a song as a teenager, I would still own the rights even after the time that I am eligible for my pension. With a 95 year long copyright, if I produced a song, the recording industry would be profiting off of my works for decades after I am dead.

Re:50 years wasn't long enough?!? (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | about 6 years ago | (#24224869)

No, your offspring (if any) would benefit.

The recording industry has nothing to do with it, unless you explicitely sell your copyrights to a record industry in return for time in their studio, marketing, touring budgets and whatnot.

That most of the billboard names have done so only means that the industry is very effective at marketing their best, not that participation is mandatory.

Re:50 years wasn't long enough?!? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#24225297)

On the upside, if the recording industry no longer uses the song it reverts to you after the first 50 years.

Retirement (3, Insightful)

Deltaspectre (796409) | about 6 years ago | (#24224819)

Dang, I wish I could make money for free after my retirement :(

I should see if my boss wants to consider paying me after I go so I have an extra 45 years I won't have to do any sysadmin work

Re:Retirement (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225093)

Which raises the interesting question: shouldn't all work be "intellectual property?" Shouldn't we get royalties forever for all the work we do?

Re:Retirement (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | about 6 years ago | (#24225375)

Make your bash scripts output to the PC speaker and claim copyright on the output. You could put copyright on a piece of code anyway, but since that is not "art", none of the almighty *AAs will come to help you. Could someone please patent the tonal systems so we get rid of all music altogether. I'm getting sick and tired of this.

Obviously not for the musicians' sake (3, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | about 6 years ago | (#24224841)

Your average musician would attain fame close to 20 or later (unless they're child-stars). 95 years after that extends revenue to the age of 115, while most people don't live past 80 or 90; if the much-publicised lives of today's musicians are anything to go by, a lot of them won't make it past 50. I refuse to pay just because someone's arrogant-bastard children think they deserve money because their father wrote a song that sold well.

Re:Obviously not for the musicians' sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225357)

I'm a 115-year-old musician who still enjoys royalties from my early works instead of a pension, you insensitive clod!

What's different from physical property though? (4, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | about 6 years ago | (#24224843)

In other news, people whose great great grandfathers fenced off land and invested in *property* retain the ownership to it still, despite having died many years ago.
Nobody shows any sign of caring that they can inherit property which they contributed *nothing* towards, and have full expectation of leaving that same property to their children.
yet if that property is intellectual rather than physical, there is huge outcry.
Why the double standard?

because a big chunk of many populations expect to benefit from inheriting daddy's house, whereas the people who benefit from IP are a smaller number, and thus easily attacked.

All earnings from old IP are taxed. All earnings from property are taxed. What is the difference here?

Re:What's different from physical property though? (5, Insightful)

TorKlingberg (599697) | about 6 years ago | (#24224883)

The concept of "intellectual property" is the problem. The phrase was made up to make it seem like a right rather than a temporary government granted monopoly.

Re:What's different from physical property though? (2, Insightful)

BrentH (1154987) | about 6 years ago | (#24225265)

Maybe the concept of 'property' is the underlying problem? The problems with such a thing as landowners are obvious (Feudal age anyone)?

Re:What's different from physical property though? (5, Insightful)

Baldur_of_Asgard (854321) | about 6 years ago | (#24224915)

Difference 1: If I graze my cattle on your ranch, you will not be able to make use of your ranch - but if I sing a song that you wrote, you will still be able to sing that song.

Difference 2: If you sell me your ranch, the ranch is mine to do with as I please. If you sell me your song, shouldn't the song be mine to do with as I please? After some profitability, songs and other intellectual property should go into the public domain, especially if a large portion of the public have paid for it.

Re:What's different from physical property though? (1)

mcwidget (896077) | about 6 years ago | (#24225135)

if I sing a song that you wrote, you will still be able to sing that song

That's true. However, if I spent time and effort writing/producing that song to make money for myself and my family then you took it and copied it without any due time and effort on your own part to make money for yourself (potentially damaging my earning ability in the process) I'd be pissed.

If you take something I've done, build on it and create something new then fair play to you and you deserve your reward. If you rip me off it's another story.

Re:What's different from physical property though? (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#24225353)

If I graze my cattle on your ranch, you will not be able to make use of your ranch - but if I sing a song that you wrote, you will still be able to sing that song.

Depends on what you see as the purpose of the property. If the purpose of the ranch is to graze cattle, yes, it's being denied to you but if you just use it as a vacation home where's the damage? If the purpose of the song is that you just want to sing it there's no damage but if the purpose was to make money then someone else sharing free copies of it make you unable to do so.

Re:What's different from physical property though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24224927)

The "problem" is that you confuse the ridiculous "intellectual 'property'" propaganda term, and the reasonable physical property. Information in the abstract should never be owned or ownable, only copies exist, physical property law over copies is adequate to deal with information justly.

All earnings from old IP are taxed.

Actually they're not. Copyright and patent holders get a tax break in Ireland, where McGreevy hails from and where his corporate masters funnel their profits through partly for that very reason.

Re:What's different from physical property though? (4, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | about 6 years ago | (#24224971)

the difference is, if i take your physical property, you have less.

if i take your intellectual property, you lose nothing.

bytes are not atoms.

Re:What's different from physical property though? (1)

Poorcku (831174) | about 6 years ago | (#24225337)

plagiarism = ok?

Re:What's different from physical property though? (2, Informative)

apathy maybe (922212) | about 6 years ago | (#24225001)

Yeah, actually there are heaps of people who objected to the fencing off of common land, and now there are heaps of people who object to inheritance. I can't think of any good reasons for inheritance beyond a certain amount, and I fully support the community "inheriting" anything beyond that certain amount.

(In the present shitty system that would amount to what is sometimes called a "death tax", but it isn't a tax, because the dead stop being taxed when they die. Just like the dead stop having rights when they die.)

There have been some discussions of property and inheritance over at RevLeft.com

http://www.revleft.com/vb/inheritance-t34696/index.html [revleft.com]
(Someone made a really good point in that thread, "There are [no arguments for inheritance]. Anyone who agrees with inheritance should also agree with reperations. After all, the slaves did work hard and their descendants should inherit money from the children whose white anscestors neglected to pay them."

http://www.revleft.com/vb/emergence-hereditary-upper-t46268/index.html [revleft.com]

http://www.revleft.com/vb/defending-usage-conception-t51371/index.html [revleft.com]

Re:What's different from physical property though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225105)

You really don't see the difference between a real property, wich you only have one copy, and a "intellectual property", wich you can make millions of copies with the click of a mouse, and with no cost? You are being trapped with the word "property". Call it "creation" and you'll see the difference. Do you pay to the people that built your house every time you use it? And if you sell it? If you die, your son will have to pay to the constructor?

Re:What's different from physical property though? (2, Insightful)

tokul (682258) | about 6 years ago | (#24225113)

Land is limited natural resource. Art is created.

If we had perpetual copyrights, we would have to pay royalties for anything created centuries ago. Think about Mozart heirs asking to pay for 9th symphony or Dante's super duper grandson still controlling rights of Divine Comedy. All these copyright extensions are moving copyrights to that direction.

Your house is not the same as your great grandfather bought. Every generation invested in that house.

Re:What's different from physical property though? (5, Informative)

silentbozo (542534) | about 6 years ago | (#24225185)

I don't know how it is where you are, but physical property here in the US is taxed apart from the income you earn from that income.

In other words, even if the land is just sitting there, you still get taxed on it. If you don't pay the tax, the government seizes the property and sells it off to someone who will. Remember, this is completely apart from the income tax applied to any revenue you generate from the property, whether it's from building a house and renting it out, farming it, grazing animals on it, or paving it over and charging people to park on it.

There is no double standard because intellectual "property" isn't real property. There's a lot of impetus to treat it that way because there are a lot of business models built on being able to buy, sell, rent, and re-exploit movies, music, and writing, completely ignoring the fact that:

1. While they like to treat it as real property, real property doesn't expire after a set period of time. Anyone stupid enough to build a business model assuming an asset that is supposed to become free after a set period of time is going to retain value forever deserves to lose their investment.

2. The ability to control the property exclusively is a monopoly (generally a bad thing) granted by the government, as a trade off - we give you a monopoly for the time being, in exchange for you making the property available to the public, and ultimately part of the public domain when the monopoly ends.

3. Traditionally, there was no such thing as "intellectual property". If you saw some something cool and wanted your own copy, you'd copy it or hire someone to make you a copy. If you heard a great story, you'd retell it. This is why guilds formed - to protect "guild secrets", and create a competitive advantage for guild members. The problem is, anyone who was really innovative would more often than not, refuse to share their new process, forcing other people to have to rediscover the secret, a horrible waste of time and energy. To get rid of this waste, promote innovation, and enable those innovations to become public so that they're not lost, the idea of patents and copyrights was born.

4. Patents and copyrights are used today to print money, quash innovation by other people, and bribe politicians to extend monopolies (generally a bad thing) indefinitely, at the expense of the public. Because they don't have to pay property tax, they can sit indefinitely on IP and just sue anyone who starts making money on something that does or might infringe on it. You should either get a limited monopoly to exploit your work, or if you want to hold onto it forever, you should be required to pay property taxes on it as a royalty to the public who are guaranteeing your monopoly. Consider all the governmental resources that have been diverted by private parties to enforcing ever longer copyrights in court, and on the streets.

So to answer your question, there's a huge difference between how IP and real property are treated. There is no double standard. The fact that you think there is one is a strong indication of how badly the public has been misled about how copyrights and patents are supposed to work.

Re:What's different from physical property though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225253)

Man, you have mixed up so many things that its difficult to unraffle it.

For instance : if our grandparents did something bad, do you think we should pay the price for it (*if* you deem the (at the time legal) fencing-off of "unowned" land as being bad), or do you think we should try to right that wrong ?

Nobody shows any sign of caring that they can inherit property which they contributed *nothing* towards, and have full expectation of leaving that same property to their children.

I'm sorry, but *you* are not everyone. The forum mentioned by "apathy maybe" allready tells you that people *are* thinking about it, and do not allways agree with it.

yet if that property is intellectual rather than physical, there is huge outcry.
Why the double standard?

Yes, why ? How come that (some of) those musicians have made (sometimes a single) something when they where young, and expect to be living off of it until they die, and than transfer that easy living onto their children ? How come a craftsman (painter, carpenter, bricklayer, house-cleaning personell, etc.) is not allowed to do the same ?

because a big chunk of many populations expect to benefit from inheriting daddy's house, whereas the people who benefit from IP are a smaller number, and thus easily attacked.

:-D Nice, but no dice. Those IP profiting people have got the same right as you to inherit their parents house/belongings. The law-given right to extract an income off of a single performance for their whole life (and than some) is coming ontop of that.

All earnings from old IP are taxed. All earnings from property are taxed. What is the difference here?

Nothing. It allso has nothing to do with the discussion.

Re:What's different from physical property though? (5, Insightful)

seifried (12921) | about 6 years ago | (#24225259)

Actually you don't own your property in the truest sense of the word (yes technically I acknowledge that you own and possibly have possession of it). Ultimately the government owns your land. Just stop paying the land or property taxes and this point will be made abundantly clear. Now if a copyright holder had to pay a yearly fee based on the value (either intrinsic, or perhaps market or realized, something along those lines) of the work in question to keep the copyright I'd be a lot more supportive of copyright laws.

Re:What's different from physical property though? (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | about 6 years ago | (#24225313)

Just as a note, most jurisdictions have death taxes ("estate taxes"), in some cases as high as 90%, such as in Sweden. But even most US states have them. Physical property is not inalienable at all.

Remind me again . . . (0, Redundant)

Baldur_of_Asgard (854321) | about 6 years ago | (#24224863)

. . . Who are the pirates?

Re:Remind me again . . . (2, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 years ago | (#24224949)

Pirates are holy beings whose dwindling numbers has caused global warming. It's simple cause and effect.

Re:Remind me again . . . (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#24225379)

Anyone performing a violent attack on a sea- or airborne vessel from another sea- or airborne vessel over international waters.

Yes, the law actually includes aircraft. You can be a sky pirate if you can find a way to board a flying plane.

What happens when its the Penguins turn? (1, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 6 years ago | (#24224887)

What happens when its the Penguins turn?

Then Tux and Linux reach the end of their copyright term will people be happy that the GPL just stops?

Re:What happens when its the Penguins turn? (3, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 years ago | (#24225007)

Yes, If commercial companies want to use 45 year old technology that was GPL'd why not? Just think, Fortran iv would just be out of copyright now. Next year we can look forward to DEC PDP-8 becoming public domain. See timeline of computing.

Re:What happens when its the Penguins turn? (3, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | about 6 years ago | (#24225079)

Then Tux and Linux reach the end of their copyright term will people be happy that the GPL just stops?

Sure. If someone wants to use a suddenly public-domain Linux 0.1, they can go right ahead. The current version will still be under copyright and available only under the terms of the GPL. Oh, and the Linux name is trademarked, not copyrighted, so Linus and his successors retain that indefinitely.

Take a look at this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24224893)

for a perspective on this matter [torrentfreak.com]

Just disregard the pirate views if you aren't into that. There's still something in there!

This is all about Ireland (3, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 6 years ago | (#24224903)

Ireland had a declining population for years (not owing to the Troubles; it was the South that was declining, not the North) due to the endemic corruption, lack of personal freedom, and poor educational opportunities. Think Iran without funny hats, and with the Catholic Church in the Shia role, and you about have it. Then they came up with two wheezes: no tax for artists, to try and encourage them to live (or more correctly officially live) there, and a complete free for all based on EU money, which transferred taxpayers money from the rest of the EU to some very, very nasty criminal gangs with connections at the highest level of government. If you doubt this, look at what happened to investigative journalists like Guerin and Taoiseachs like Bertie Ahearn.

The upshot is that shills like McCreevy are trying to keep the artists on board by proposing that they get something which no other professional gets, (if 95 years copyright for a writer, why not 95 years for a patent?) hoping that Ireland will benefit in some way from tax collection. Apple is also strongly represented In Ireland and can presumably afford lobbyists.

The economic downturn and the gradual ending of EU structural funding (supposedly for building railways and roads but actually diverted to building country houses for the rich Irish) is putting a strain on the Irish economy. They need the money

Re:This is all about Ireland (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#24225405)

if 95 years copyright for a writer, why not 95 years for a patent?

Because a patent has a much wider scope. A copyright applies to a specific story, a specific work. A patent applies to a way of implementing an idea. A copyright can be circumvented easily when you're creating your own work (just make something that has the same functions for your purpose and vary the remaining parts, e.g. when you use a villain you just have to keep his evilness and maybe his powers, not his appearance, history or personality quirks), a patent is specifically designed to prevent that (when someone patents a drug you cannot just give it a funny shape and a different name, you actually have to invent a new substance with a similar effect).

The Plan! (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 years ago | (#24224933)

1/ Take an existing song.

2/ Alter the words.

3/ Copyright it and give no credit to the original author.

4/ Charge huge royalty payments for casual use or even small portions.

5/ The estate collects the money for the next 95 years! Happy Birthday To You (c)

Some will argue that it is the "American Way" to do such fencing off of various praries and certainly many have become rich by poineering ways to make money out of what was free before. It is really no more the American way than selling wildcat claims with a single seeded gold nugget for the mark to find or selling the deeds to public bridges. It is disturbing that this behaviour is getting exported to Europe.

Re:The Plan! (4, Interesting)

robbak (775424) | about 6 years ago | (#24225251)

Just an addendum: You can use the music to "Happy Birthday" - that is a folk tune, and anonymous' copyrights have expired. (Just be sure to credit the music under the name of that forgotten folk tune.)

All that it copyrighted are the words. All 5 of them:
"Happy birthday to you... dear _________"

How ingenious.

What I'm really wondering is (1)

kvezach (1199717) | about 6 years ago | (#24224989)

Would it be a copyright violation or just truth in reporting to now commence singing the ABBA song, "Money, Money, Money"?

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225161)

You'd just be committing a tasteless act!

Retroactive ? (1)

vengeful (734172) | about 6 years ago | (#24224993)

Does that mean that the copyright term will extend further into the past ?

Re:Retroactive ? (5, Insightful)

jabuzz (182671) | about 6 years ago | (#24225081)

No it means that it applies to works that are already in existence. So for example I own a number of audio books of classic works. The words spoken by the actors on the CD's are long out of copyright. However the recording itself has a 50 year term. When I purchased that audio book I entered into a contract, part of which was based on the fact that the copyright in the recording would expire within my lifetime.

This proposal would change the existing contract of purchase to make me materially worse off. This makes it retroactive.

This proposal however has to get approval from all 27 member countries, which is a tall order given that some, such as the UK have expressed previously that they saw no reason to extend copyrights on recordings.

No pensions? (4, Insightful)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | about 6 years ago | (#24225077)

So they should have invested some of the money while they were making it, instead of spending it on Colombian marching powder, groupies and hotel room repairs.

Everyone else has to save for a pension or end up on income support. Why not musicians?

Re:No pensions? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24225343)

Everyone else has to save for a pension or end up on income support. Why not musicians?

A minority of them and their relatives are "special" (AKA: get a fucking job like the rest of us [bbc.co.uk] ). I'm speaking as a musician, not one who is particularly fond of Mr McCreevy [digitalmajority.org] .

I suspect the council of ministers will try and rush this one through using procedural rules to prevent a parliamentary vote, because there's no way in hell anybody who isn't on the music industry payroll will let this one slide!

Re:No pensions? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#24225417)

How many musicians can make any meaningful amount of money from their creations even 2-3 years after the first release, never mind 50? Very, VERY few works can make money for that long.

The artists should decide (1)

little1973 (467075) | about 6 years ago | (#24225089)

how they want to "licence" their works. If some artist want to control their works with some kind of licencing (aka EULA) it is their choise. Of course you cannot restrict the usage of songs which are on eg. the radio. These songs can be considered advertising and as nobody agreed, who heard the song, to the licence you cannot claim licencing fees for them.

In a free market there will be artist who uses restrictive licencing and artists who give away their work for free. Let the free market decide which/who will be the more popular.

Re:The artists should decide (1)

damburger (981828) | about 6 years ago | (#24225215)

Outside your market-based fantasy world, artists don't have such a choice. They have to do as the record company says or get a job in a shop.

Undeserved (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | about 6 years ago | (#24225243)

The whole point of copyright is to encourage the creative arts. Retroactively extending copyright creates nothing. We get no new works for it.

The only possible justification for extending copyright would be to put it on new works.

Musicians will keep getting paid ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24225285)

Distribution cartels and studios you mean.

THIEVES (1)

eiapoce (1049910) | about 6 years ago | (#24225315)

Now I think I have a legitimate right to get all the money I got from my previous jobs paid back twice and retroactively.

Is it just me?

Oh bother. (1)

T3Tech (1306739) | about 6 years ago | (#24225325)

What artist actually sees any royalty payments anyway?

blah blah blah... yadda yadda...

Mod TFA +3 rant fodder
mod this post -2 multiplily (is that a word? no it's just multiply) redundant... and -1 schizophrenicly confused

Retroactive extension = breaking the deal (4, Interesting)

archeopterix (594938) | about 6 years ago | (#24225399)

Hey, this wasn't in the deal. The artists produced artwork, the society, represented by the government, granted them X years temporary monopoly as reward/incentive to contribute to the public domain.

Now they (the copyright lobby) want to break that deal by lobbying the gov't to retroactively extend the monopoly by Y years. Now tell me again, why should I respect the deal when the other side doesn't?

Thieves and Scoundrels (3, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | about 6 years ago | (#24225409)

Who is going to benefit from this? From what I've read, this was the era in which it was common for record producers to acquire all rights to the song in exchange for a flat fee.

hmm, 50 years (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 6 years ago | (#24225441)

Seems like a long enough time to be recieving royalties. If musicians can't save for their retirement like the rest of us that is their problem. After all, they should have known when their royalties are due to stop and if that didn't equal when they thought they'd be dead then they should have been saving.
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