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EU Extends Music Copyright to 70 Years 536

MrSteveSD writes "The copyright on sound recordings by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and other famous bands was due to expire in the next few years. However, the EU Council has now scuttled any such hopes. The copyright term has been extended from 50 to 70 years with aging rockers expressing their delight."
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EU Extends Music Copyright to 70 Years

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  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:41PM (#37377780)
    Keep copyright where it belongs: a regulation on businesses. It makes no difference what the term is if they leave home users alone.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But home taping is killing music!

      • by malkavian ( 9512 )

        Yeah.. And the video recorder killed movies!

        • Yeah.. And the video recorder killed movies!

          Video Killed the Radio Star! []

  • Incentivise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:45PM (#37377816)

    Yes, we must redouble our efforts to incentivise John Lennon to produce more new music.

    • by ciderbrew ( 1860166 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:48PM (#37377860)
      Hmm. Do you think it's a conspiracy to keep Yoko from needing the money and start singing again? Are we safe with 70 years? Japanese women live for ages.
    • Fun fact: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:07PM (#37378074)

      Germany does not have the concept of copyright.
      It has "Urheberrecht". (Which the organized crime loves to confuse with copyright.)
      Urheberrecht is like author's right. And you can't give it away. If you made something, you have that right, nobody else, and nobody else ever will, even if you want it, and even if you sign it away. (That contract would be invalid.)

      Also, nobody gives a fuck anymore about what those criminals think they can hallucinate-up to further their protection racket.
      They are criminals, and I treat them as such.

      The last time they tried to put up a propaganda stand at our main train station, I ripped off their posters, took the megaphone, and made people chase them out of the place.
      The next time I'll not be so nice.

    • Re:Incentivise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:15PM (#37378170)

      Europe is batshit insane anyway with "artists".

      Now, if you had a work of the painted kind, it goes for sale in auction, a percentage has to go to the original artist. Each and every time (may be just Germany, or EU wide).

      They totally bought into the arteeest mythos and bullshit.

      • Leapfrog (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:27PM (#37378344) Homepage Journal

        Europe is batshit insane anyway with "artists".

        The trouble is that the U.S. Congress uses EU insanity as an excuse to "harmonize" its copyright legislation to match what foreign countries offer in a game of copyright leapfrog. Otherwise, what's left of the U.S.-headquartered music and film industry claims it will leave the country. This was the argument for the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 in the United States.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:18PM (#37378220)
      I believe that for the last couple decades John Lennon has not been composing any new songs. In fact I hear a rumor that he's actually de-composing.
  • Why not just extend it to years and be done with it?

    • Infinite years I mean. Slashdot didn't seem to understand the sideways-8 symbol.

    • by afabbro ( 33948 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:21PM (#37378260) Homepage

      I can't speak for the EU, but at least in the US, the legal thinking is that you can't make it indefinite due to the U.S. Constitution ("To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries"). Unfortunately, the Supremes seem to think that any number is yes, 90 years or 100,000 years would theoretically be fine, as long as it is not "infinity".

      In other news, the legal system is completely retarded.

      • by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @02:24PM (#37379100) Homepage Journal
        The real reason this was done, was a result of a flaw of the system.

        There are people with money and a vested interest in extending the copyright, but there are no organized groups with money lobbying against this. So, every time this rolls around in ANY country with a copyright system, it will get extended.

        politicians will roll over for any group with lobbyists, when there isn't any organized opposition. It is in their interest to pass laws that people with influence like.
  • Slackers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:46PM (#37377822) Homepage

    Announcing the ruling, the council of the European Union said: "Performers generally start their careers young and the current term of protection of 50 years often does not protect their performances for their entire lifetime.

    "Therefore, some performers face an income gap at the end of their lifetimes."

    Just get a job like the rest of us

    • Re:Slackers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by qzjul ( 944600 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:49PM (#37377884) Homepage
      Or.... make more good music? Wasn't that the purpose of copyright in the first place?
    • Maybe they should just be assigned an accountant to help them INVEST their money made at their peak. If they didn't make enough, then yes, get a job. It's rather sad that you can do nothing in life and complain about it, then have people sympathize with you about it to the point of giving you a larger allowance to do nothing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DinDaddy ( 1168147 )

      Oh right. Like you aren't going to continue to get paid for the work you're doing now through your elderly years. Why shouldn't artists be entitled to the same thing ditch diggers and chimney sweeps get?

      • Re:Slackers (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:07PM (#37378068)

        Ditch diggers and chimney sweeps pay into retirement plans - they don't continue to get paid for having dug that ditch/cleaned that chimney for the rest of eternity, combined with some uninvolved company continuing to be allowed to collect money for that chimney having been swept years and decades after their deaths.

        By all means, I fully support the idea of artists being allowed to pay into retirement plans, and even encourage that they do so. It will help them deal with that income gap at the end of their lives that ditch diggers and chimney sweeps face when they're too old to be able to continue digging ditches and sweeping chimneys.

        Meanwhile, if they're not actually doing anything before then, maybe the artists should try to get a job? It's what ditch diggers and chimney sweeps who are out of work do.

        • Re:Slackers (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @04:45PM (#37380666) Journal

          This past weekend I was at a barbeque sitting talking to three guys all about my age (early 40's). After a few minutes I found out that one was a cop, recently retired who was collecting a healthy pension and was trying to decide if he wanted to get another job or just do some traveling and enjoy himself. The other was a postal worker who was upset because the union has told everyone to work slower because postal mail is down over 20% and there isn't enough work for everyone but according to union rules nobody can ever be laid off. The third was a city fireman who has retired and was outfitting his boat for a year-long trip from New York down to the Caribbean with his entire family.

          After a few moments of this it struck me that I was paying for all of this.I was the only one of the three that was generating money from outside the government system and paying into it. All three of them were getting paid from the government, were not working as hard as me or not at all, and their taxes are an accounting trick because the money was going from the government to them and back to the government.

          • The post office is privately funded.

            Police and Fire pensions are partially funded by the government and a contribution is required to be made by the members as well - In theory. In practice, many states have made no contributions to the public employee pensions for years. My state is claiming it will make a payment this year, but if it does it will be the third time in 11 years it actually has...

            I don't know about the whole country, but at least in the Northeast, New York State is the only one that has fu

      • by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:13PM (#37378152) Journal

        ... you live in located? I'd like to emigrate there.

        A place where a ditch digger keeps getting payed continuously through the decades, for all those ditches he dug in the past 70 years?
        Sign me up for citizenship! I'll even bring my own shovel.

      • It's called a retirement plan. Just because employers traditionally included this as a perk, does not mean you "continue to get paid for the work you're doing now". Artists, contractors, small business owners - they all have to arrange for their own retirement savings, and if they don't, well, they're going to live a spartan life the day they stop working.

        If a chimney sweep didn't save up for retirement, and suddenly realized no one needs chimney sweeps anymore, what would they do ? Jump off a bridge ?

    • Re:Slackers (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DahGhostfacedFiddlah ( 470393 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:01PM (#37378020)

      If it's that much of a concern, why not change the copyright length to max(50, artist.lifetime)?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Anti-copyright people at this time think more like economists. We look at incentives, rather than goals. The incentive in the situation you describe is for people to kill off artists so they can have all their stuff for free. That is a perverse incentive.
        • Re:Slackers (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @02:16PM (#37378990)

          No, originally copyright was 14 years. Then we felt sorry for artists with popular songs still being played while they were broke. Then we felt sorry for their spouses and kids they were supporting... Now what?

          Here's the REAL question that proves the point best: Do artists (families) get to renegotiate the contract terms for the extended 20 years? The record company didn't create the work, or extend the copyright... Why do THEY get a FREE 20 years more??

      • Yes, if you must (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:11PM (#37378130) Homepage

        As other posters have noted, the original point of copyright was never to guarantee someone a lifetime income.

        That said, if this is the new purpose, then change copyright to exceed 60 years if and only if the copyright has been continuously in the possession of the musician from the start. There is zero need for companies to have an extended copyright. Of course, we all know that's what it's really about...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Correct, but to be fair the original point of copyright law in Europe was to regulate and control printers. The crown got control over what could be printed and printers got a monopoly (limited time, could be reissued). It's much easier to monitor the printing of seditious materials when only a handful of people can legally print. I like the new purpose better than the original...
        • You see, that I would support. It actually makes musicians a commodity with bargaining potential rather than someone you can just steal from and get rid of.
        • by bl968 ( 190792 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @03:49PM (#37380032) Journal

          Also require the copyright to be continuously marketed, or the copyright lapses. No more Disney putting titles in the vault to maximize the value of their intellectual property; out of print book, public domain, etc.

      • Re:Slackers (Score:4, Interesting)

        by somersault ( 912633 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:16PM (#37378182) Homepage Journal

        This law shouldn't take effect retroactively. It's making me want to say "fuck the system". I've already bought a couple of Beatles albums legally, but I should probably just download the rest out of spite (and justice).

    • Re:Slackers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mypalmike ( 454265 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:04PM (#37378050) Homepage

      More to the point:

      1. Most people face an income gap at the end of their lifetimes.
      2. Record label execs, who don't face such a gap, are the ones who will actually benefit from this.

    • Re:Slackers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:07PM (#37378084) Homepage Journal

      Just get a job like the rest of us

      I cannot emphasize how insightful this is.

      The thing is, most of us get paid for the work we do, but no more. If we want to get paid more, guess what? We have to work more.

      But not the artists! No, once they create something, apparently, they are entitled to get paid for it the rest of their lives, and then once they die, their children get paid for it, and their children's children. Or more likely, the company that distributed it gets paid indefinitely for it.

      What's left out of these conversations is this: They got paid for what they were doing when they were doing it. Why didn't they do what the rest of us normal folks have to do, save up money in a retirement plan? After all, once I retire, I certainly don't expect my company to keep paying me for the work I'm doing today, let alone the company I worked for 20 years ago to keep paying me for those Windows 3.1 PCs I set up and repaired at the time. No, instead, I contribute regularly to my 401k plan so that once I do get older, I don't have to depend on still getting paid for work I did 50 years before.

      Meanwhile, by extending the copyright, they are denying our society our cultural heritage. I can't share with kids of today what music was like back in my youth because it's irrevocably locked up by copyrights until well after I'll be dead. Everyone keeps forgetting that the purpose of copyrights is not to guarantee artists an income for a lifetime. It is, at least according to the U.S. Constitution, "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." How does this possibly promote the progress of science and useful arts? Do people honestly think that a 25-year-old is not going to create works of art because they're worried about it falling into the public domain when they're 75 years old instead of 95? That's ridiculous.

      • Re:Slackers (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:28PM (#37378366)

        Art is an investment. You typically do the work up front for free, and then you hope to make the money back selling copies for years to come. The problem here is that it's not the artists that own the rights, it's the labels, and the labels don't do jack shit to earn their money in most cases, or at least not in proportion to the amount they invest. It's not uncommon for them to place all the risk on the group and then pocket nearly all the proceeds of the album sales.

        Going much beyond 50 years is a travesty. There is some incentive to be had from 50 years, many artists hope to be able to provide for their family for a period after their death, and extending copyright doesn't guarantee income.

        • I'd wager that, for most works, there isn't much income to be made past 14 years. In fact, it probably breaks down like this: 90% of musical works make nearly all their money in the first 5 years and then makes nearly nothing. 5% likely bottom out after the first 10 years and 4% after the first 15 years. But thanks to that 1% that keeps making money after 15 years have passed, we get lobbying to keep extending copyright.

          In fact, if anyone wants to do the legwork, here's Wikipedia's listing of albums rele

          • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )
            Interesting to look back. The thing that jumps out at me there is how many bands released multiple albums in a given year. Seems like you have to wait years between albums these days.

            Of all of those listed, I own 3: Kraftwerk's Computer World, Queen's greatest hits, and Blondie's greatest hits. All were purchased back in the 90's when I was in college. Queen was on tape, and broke some time ago, so while I feel entitled to the songs I no longer have a means of playing them. I've probably got several dozen

      • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

        If you make and sell ANYTHING that does not have a pre-signed sales agreement (ie any consumer good, from socks to music to cars to houses) you get paid only at the time of each sale. If nobody buys your product, you make no money. If your product stays popular for a hundred years (eg Coca-Cola) you continue earning money on it until people stop buying it. EXCEPT for copyrighted stuff, there are no limits on the amount of time you continue to earn money off your product, as long as people still want it.


    • Re:Slackers (Score:5, Informative)

      by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:10PM (#37378118) Homepage

      The real translation here:
      "The music industry prefers their stars young and naive about the business, so they don't realize how much they're getting screwed by their labels. And because we like to cast off our acts before they're 30, we'll use the fact that they're broke by the time they're 70 as a way to build support for giving us copyrights for longer."

      The solutions, for musicians are:
      1. Don't sign with a label. Many musicians have made it without one, and those who have signed with one generally consider them to be a really bad deal.
      2. Continue making new music throughout your adult life. If you're a musician, that should be what you want to be doing anyways.
      3. Promote sharing music as a way of building up your fan base. The Grateful Dead did it, MC Frontalot did it, you can do it too.
      4. Did I mention that you shouldn't sign with a label?

    • A Better Way (Score:5, Interesting)

      by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:22PM (#37378272) Journal
      There is a better way: A yearly commercialization fee. If you want to release a song for sale, you must register it and pay a fee for copyright protection. The first year, the fee is one dollar (or one Euro). For subsequent years, the fee is twice what it was in the previous year. You are free to pay the commercialization fees for as long as you wish. If the commercialization fee is not paid, the work goes into the public domain.
    • Interesting comment. I've been coding for some thirty years (yeah yeah...) and was in a bank the other day, getting a foreign currency money order and being a slow day, got chatting with the people behind the counter. I used to work at the bank in the IT department, I said. Is [sysname] still in use? Yep, it is. And there's bit of my brainwork in that application, in use some twenty years after I wrote. I'm not getting any cash from the bank for it's continuing use of software I write. Fair enough
  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:46PM (#37377826) []

    It does this without any formal powers, only the influence it has being composed of national leaders.

    Its kind of like the CFR or any number of other groups ... they do run the place, but not directly officially.

    Its not their job to actually rewrite the laws to be 70 years or a million years, but it is somewhat likely that what they say should be done, will be done.

  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <> on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:46PM (#37377832) Homepage

    He evidentially has run out of money. Should we be sad or disgusted at him? I vote for disgusted.

  • by jDeepbeep ( 913892 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:49PM (#37377870)
    From TFA

    The change applies to the copyright on studio recordings, which is often owned by record labels, rather than the right to the composition, which is owned by the songwriters.

    Can't say I'm a bit surprised. I would hate for record labels to face an income gap toward the end of their lives.

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:49PM (#37377876)

    But, why an extension to 70 years? Fifty is plenty of time for an artist to reap the rewards of their talents. Plus, I don't think the Stones and Beatles even own the rights to their music from the 60s. Weren't both groups screwed out of their earlier song rights by their managers?

    • Well, given the current life expectancy of about 80 years, and how a musician's career is basically over by the time they're ten years old, obviously they need 70 years of protection to live off the income.

  • Extension == Theft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dwandy ( 907337 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:50PM (#37377886) Homepage Journal
    In this discussion of copyright it's actually appropriate to call it theft.
    This music is being (preemptively) removed from the public domain; it's being stolen from the people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DinDaddy ( 1168147 )


      Saw a headline somewhere last week that described it as such - "stolen from the public domain"

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdflat.cCHICAGOom minus city> on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:50PM (#37377894) Journal

    I mean, really? What is the effing point of this?

    The point of copyright is (or rather, was supposed to be) to grant the creator of a work a time-limited exclusivity on the right to copy that work, so that they could easily publish the work and reap the benefits of that publication (while society also reaps the benefits of the new work being published) without the fear that somebody else might usurp it from them, which might otherwise keep them from publicly releasing their work, and thus depriving society of an artistic creation. If it takes you 70 years to accomplish this, however, or even fifty... heck, arguably anything more than 20, then maybe... just maybe, you're just too effing slow.

  • More like their labels.
  • by Kensai7 ( 1005287 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:52PM (#37377910)

    MrSteveSD writes

    "The copyright on sound recordings by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and other famous bands was due to expire in the next few years. However, the EU Council has now scuttled any such hopes. The copyright term has been extended from 70 to 90 years with life-supported rockers expressing their delight."

    (Slashdot 2031)

    • by bmo ( 77928 )

      The copyright term has been extended from 70 to 90 years with life-supported rockers expressing their delight."

      The cover of Rolling Stone's article in 2031 has a picture of Kieth Richards and he still looks the same as he did in 2011.

      He has requested virgin blood sacrifices and the media companies had just succeeded in getting "Aging Rocker Blood Sacrifice" laws pushed through legislatures everywhere. The Robotic Dick Cheney was the first to sign it into law.

    • Good stuff - You beat us all to the punch... It'll be interesting to see the rationale as the artists all eventually pass on.
  • Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by DinDaddy ( 1168147 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:52PM (#37377926)

    Good. I was worried about having to take Ringo or Paul in when thy ended up penniless on the street. Being a fan, I couldn't let that happen to them, but we don't really have a lot os space for permanent house guests.

  • There is no moral or philosophically defensible position that says someone needs to own a song or a movie for 70 years. The only explanation is greed overstepping all sense of proportion and reason. Disgusting. It just moves me with great anger to make sure I will do my best to hurt the bottom line of those who think dollar signs are more important than the common property of mankind.

  • Rules of procedure (Score:5, Informative)

    by mmcuh ( 1088773 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:55PM (#37377958)

    It's worth noting that the Swedish Pirate Party's MEP tried to get this issue back to the parliament months ago for a new vote (which should be allowed by the parliament's rules of procedure, since the old vote was done by the previous parliament before the last election in 2009 and there are provisions that allow a new vote if the council is too slow in adopting a directive from the parliament and there's an election inbetween), but the parliament's directorate stalled for four months, and then decided, less than 10 days ago, that the rules didn't apply [] in this case after all.

    No need to bribe hundreds of parliamentarians when you can just pay off one or two persons in the directorate.

  • If this is being done because people are seeing their income drop after 50 years, then I think they deserved the wake up call that everything they've done for the last 50 years is worthless crap, and maybe they should have learned to save some cash for retirement.
  • by kawabago ( 551139 ) on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:00PM (#37378016)
    Copyrights are supposed to be a bargain where the artist gets a 50 year exclusive right to distribute their work in exchange for releasing the work into the public domain after that term. This is outright theft by the EU from the public domain and we should be making a huge stink about it. If you live in the European Union your culture has just been stolen. Everyone in the EU needs to inundate your representatives with complaints about this because these copyrights have been stolen from each and every one of you!
  • ... and I'm bloody well not delighted.

  • I've been holding off on creating most of my best music because the incentive just wasn't good enough. Now I finally feel my monopoly will be protected long enough to make it worth it.
  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) * on Monday September 12, 2011 @01:33PM (#37378424) Homepage Journal
    Stealing things that are public domain to make them their property? This [] explain it better.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"