The question comes in a Wall Street Journal item which says, “The Beatles and their heirs have refused to make their songs available on the Apple iPod or other devices.”
Given that Paul McCartney, the only surviving Beatle to have maintained any kind of profile on or offline, is among other antique rockers such as Cliff Richard (right) who want rights extended to 700 years, or so, it’s hardly surprising Beatles tunes aren’t on the handful of Big Music supplied sites which are trying to peddle the same thing to the same people at the same rip-off prices.
“For two days last week, it seemed that the last holdouts had relented, making their music available digitally,” says the story. “It then turned out that the owners of the Beatles had not changed their minds. Instead, the cut-rate 25 cents a song was the result of what a federal judge called a brazen violation of copyright law.”
It refers to Bluebeat, the US download site which was offering Beatles (and other) tunes at close to reasonable prices.
But EMI, which owns the Beatles stuff, soon put a stop to that.
“You`d think rock ancients such as Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard (right), U2, Yoko Ono [Yoko Ono?], Barry Gibb, Petula Clark and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa [?] already have enough cash stashed away to keep themselves, their children, their children`s children, their children`s children`s children`s, and so on, in luxury,” said p2pnet when news of the 700 year copyright agreement broke. (Or was it 95 years? It was one or the other.)
But No, “The greedy sods want more,” we posted. “They were among 4,500 artists who last year signed a newspaper advertisement demanding the UK government extend the copyright in sound recordings to 95 years and now they`re, ‘celebrating a major victory’ because a European Parliament committee says it`s OK to boost it to 95 years,” said Times Online.”
As things stand, an EC use it or lose it copyright clause means recordings revert to performers if the producer or label no longer wants to market the recording — but only after half a century, we said, adding:
However, FAC members, including Billy Bragg, today met with senior civil servants at the Intellectual Property Office in London in a bid to get the cause whittled down to 35 years.
Even more recently, I agree with the artists, said Paul Kamp, vice president, business development and corporate counsel at Backbone Networks.
“As a compromise, perhaps push for a shorter term, ie 15 years and have the artists pay for publishing and distribution,” he suggested. “If it means something to the record companies I am sure they can come up with the fee to pay the digital distributor. There seems to be no reason to hold back on publishing the older works.”
Meanwhile, “The downside of the open architecture of the Web is that there has been a Mao-like aspect, devaluing the effort and creative genius that went into creating songs and other works,” says the WSJ, adding:
“Digital rights have not yet progressed to the point where people can access and share their favorite works in an economically reasonable way. This isn’t the fault of the bands or the fans.
“Digital technology will someday evolve from this early stage of enabling piracy and easy copyright violations to a more advanced stage in which new technology supports economic incentives for digital creating and sharing.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Wall Street Journal – Money Can’t Buy Me Beatles, November 9, 2009
extended to 700 years – Not-So-Golden-Oldies score copyright win, February 13, 2009
put a stop – EMI boots Bluebeat off the net, November 6, 2009
Times Online Musicians celebrate victory as go-ahead given for copyright to be extended to 95 years, February 13, 2009
whittled down – Use it or Lose it: 15 years, not 35, November 5, 200
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