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Donna Wentworth
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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Copyfight

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July 18, 2004

Rock and Roll Scheduled to Enter Public Domain in Europe Soon

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Reuters is carrying a wonderful wirestory pointing out that many of Elvis' recordings will soon enter the public domain in Europe, and not long after that, many other rock and roll classics (European Copyright Clock Ticking on Elvis Hits):

If there are no changes in European copyright law, the track [Elvis Presley's That's All Right] will fall into public domain Jan. 1, 2005. Anyone will be able to release it without paying royalties to the owners of the master or the performer's heirs. BMG will start losing a significant piece of its catalog income in Europe.

As "That's All Right" is being hailed by some as the beginning of rock 'n' roll, the implications are that every year after 2005, more recordings that defined the genre will fall into public domain.

Of course, this has the European recording industry in a panic:
Jamieson [executive chairman of British Phonograph Industry] added, "The end of the sound recording copyright on the explosion of British popular music in the late '50s and '60s, not just the Beatles, but many other British artists, is only a short period away. If nothing is done they will suffer loss of income not just for their sales in the U.K. but their sales across the globe."
And Europeans should care about this, why? If the theory justifying copyright is an incentive one, all the artists and recording companies seem to have been properly incentivized. I can safely say that extending copyright for existing recordings is highly unlikely to incentivize the creation of more music in the 1950s and 60s, unless Austin Powers can actually go back in time.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use


COMMENTS

1. Casper on July 19, 2004 5:16 PM writes...

Clearly the EU doesn't have such a legislative giant as Sonny Bono to extend copyrights a century or so. How ever will they survive?

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2. Branko Collin on July 20, 2004 6:17 PM writes...

A recent EU study finds that there is no necessity to change the law:

"From the point of view of the Internal Market, the term of protection for phonogram producers does not cause particular concern since the term has been harmonised in the Community and also been incorporated by the 10 new Member States. Moreover, it seems that public opinion and political realities in the EU are such as not to support an extension in the term of protection. Some would even argue that the term should be reduced. At this stage, therefore, time does not appear to be ripe for a change, and developments in the market should be further monitored and studied."

More at http://www.recht.nl/exit.html?id=32256&url=http%3A%2F%2Feuropa.eu.int%2Fcomm%2Finternal_market%2Fcopyright%2Fdocs%2Freview%2Fsec-2004-995_en.pdf

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