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Don Brown

A Big Change in European Copyright

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Just received this message from a member of the Duke-LYM discussion group: "EU Market Commissioner, Charlie McCreery, announced today the European Commission has adopted the proposed extension of the performer's copyright period to 95 years from the current 50. Good news for a handful of aged pop stars such as Cliff Richard, and even better news for the corporate owners of the relevant recordings (Beatles anyone?) Less good news for music buyers, especially fans of the stuff the corporates cannot be bothered to reissue." Not sure what effect this will have on such Spanish labels as Fresh Sound, Definitive, Lonehill, Gambit, Jazz Beat, RLR, etc., etc.

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Just received this message from a member of the Duke-LYM discussion group: "EU Market Commissioner, Charlie McCreery, announced today the European Commission has adopted the proposed extension of the performer's copyright period to 95 years from the current 50. Good news for a handful of aged pop stars such as Cliff Richard, and even better news for the corporate owners of the relevant recordings (Beatles anyone?) Less good news for music buyers, especially fans of the stuff the corporates cannot be bothered to reissue." Not sure what effect this will have on such Spanish labels as Fresh Sound, Definitive, Lonehill, Gambit, Jazz Beat, RLR, etc., etc.

I'm not sure if it was adopted, or he simply put it up for a vote. There are several Commissioners opposed to the extension. Even if it is adopted, then it has to work its way through the EU system (could take a while). So we shall see.

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Sounds like an effort to be in line with copyright term in the U.S. If adopted, will it restore copyright protection to material that has been considered public domain in Europe for a while now? That would negatively impact reissue labels like JSP, Document, etc., although I suppose that would be congratulated by many here.

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Sounds like an effort to be in line with copyright term in the U.S. If adopted, will it restore copyright protection to material that has been considered public domain in Europe for a while now? That would negatively impact reissue labels like JSP, Document, etc., although I suppose that would be congratulated by many here.

I don't think such law could restore copyright to material already on public domain, it would be a retroactive law, or ex post facto law.

Such law could be enforce only to material still under copyright when the law would be proclaim.

Edited by porcy62

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better start buying stuff before it disappears -

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Sounds like an effort to be in line with copyright term in the U.S. If adopted, will it restore copyright protection to material that has been considered public domain in Europe for a while now? That would negatively impact reissue labels like JSP, Document, etc., although I suppose that would be congratulated by many here.

I don't think such law could restore copyright to material already on public domain, it would be a retroactive law, or ex post facto law.

Such law could be enforce only to material still under copyright when the law would be proclaim.

Plenty of retroactive laws passed. In the US a large amount of material that was in public domain got swept back into this ambiguous territory once the Mickey Mouse laws were passed. I was working on a poetry anthology where the earlier material was in p.d. one day and then the next, it was not and no way to trace the rights' holders (who had understandably not kept up on it past the earlier 50 year mark). The project was dropped. Maybe in another 50 years... Or I'll move to Andorra and start a publishing firm.

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Sounds like an effort to be in line with copyright term in the U.S. If adopted, will it restore copyright protection to material that has been considered public domain in Europe for a while now? That would negatively impact reissue labels like JSP, Document, etc., although I suppose that would be congratulated by many here.

I don't think such law could restore copyright to material already on public domain, it would be a retroactive law, or ex post facto law.

Such law could be enforce only to material still under copyright when the law would be proclaim.

Plenty of retroactive laws passed. In the US a large amount of material that was in public domain got swept back into this ambiguous territory once the Mickey Mouse laws were passed. I was working on a poetry anthology where the earlier material was in p.d. one day and then the next, it was not and no way to trace the rights' holders (who had understandably not kept up on it past the earlier 50 year mark). The project was dropped. Maybe in another 50 years... Or I'll move to Andorra and start a publishing firm.

Don't know in US, but over here every retroactive law has big chance to be rejected by Constitutional Court.

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this wouldn't affect andorra, right?

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this wouldn't affect andorra, right?

Not till it becomes the 51st state.

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this wouldn't affect andorra, right?

Not till it becomes the 51st state.

heh heh! with Milestones, Sketches of Spain, Kinda Blue etc etc to go PD in the next couple of years....not to mention Elvis....

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BBC story about this

From the article:

And Anthony Baldwin, a musician and sound engineer who restores old recordings, told The Times: "If the legislation gets through, you can say goodbye to independent European vintage CD reissues."

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I'm sending the cops to each and every one of you who bought Devilin Tune -

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Now why is this (very interesting) thread in the Hammond Zone???

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Because B3s are going into the public domain next year and we'll be able to buy them for pennies on the dollar. Not sure about the Leslies though.

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Mike is right. This thread ought to be moved in to a more visible place - FAST!!

BTW, it would indeed be interesting to see if laws such as this can be fully retroactive. I.e. will that music that has already fallen into the P.D. be made copyrighted again or not or will this take effect only on whatever has not yet gone P.D.

As hinted at in the BBC article, this may actually be a huge coverup for a few biggies who can't get enough (such as assorted British "Sirs") because many others (minor ones) have signed away their rights long before. and I doubt anybody is going to revoke THOSE contracts to the detriment of the record companies.

As for the record companies, I have a hunch the Andorrans will not really be affected (geographically speaking ;)), and would the copyright fees actually make that much of a difference price-wise?

It all depends on the question of somebody WANTING to reissue the stuff in the first place.

Maybe the logicla way out to satisfy the interests of EVERYBODY would be to achieve a rule that makes it legal for ANYBODY to release material after 50 years BUT requires royalty payments to the artists concerned to continue. Though I cannot really see that happening. It would be too easy.

Anyway, I cannot see specialist reissue labels such as Ace (for R&B etc. - seeing that they BOUGHT the huge Modern/RPM catalog as well as the John Dolphin labels and the RIGHTS that go with them) in the U.K. or DRAGON in Sweden (for Scandinavian jazz) will be affected at all. And it is not the "Andorran thieves" who might suffer too much either but certain "U.K." reissue plagiarists that strangely do not usually come into the line of fire here. Many seem to sneer at Lonehill etc., but the same people drool e.g. about the Proper boxes. Anybody ever asked yourselves questions where the Proper material comes from? Have you had a look at some of their "instrument" compilations, for example, e.g. the Accordion jazz CD box? Ever noted that more than 20 of the tracks on that one are identical to those released on an Accordion Jazz 2-CD set released by Fremeaux Associés about 10 years ago? Coincidence? Aw, c'mon! There would have been LOTS of other accordeon jazz tracks to reissue if somebody had wanted to do the collectors a REAL favor instead of just capitalizing on what had already been made EASILY accessible. And all the Mat Mathews tracks on the same box set being drawn from one single Dawn LP (reissued by Fresh Sound before)? Coincidence again? Now really! No doubt it is all legal by the still-current 50-year P.D. rule but it sounds very much like an easy way to make a fast buck with a minimum of effort to me - a case of P.D.-ists ripping off the P.D.-ists, maybe? (Or "Bootleggers bootlegging the bootleggers", according to the attitudes of many U.S. forumists who've always defended the 70-year rule around here :D)

Makes you wonder, really ...

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Record companies in Britain freely agreed to a 50 year copyright term, back in the 1950s - they were doing well with new releases and current artists and couldn't imagine that anyone would be interested in stuff made in the 1900s....

Now, of course, the perspective is different particularly given that none of them are ever likely to own the rights to 'talent' that will earn like the Beatles, the Stones, Dylan, Elvis etc etc , in the future.

Whether they will bother about old recordings may be doubtful:

When I ran the Smithsonian label in the 90s I created a boxed Blues set that was very successful - to the extent that someone produced a knock-off - even down to the color and design of the box. The material on our set was licensed through SONY and I ascertained from Business Affairs that the other set was a bootleg. It contained recordings owned by many companies including SONY, and even some stuff that was not even PD in Europe. (The set was produced and manufactured in the US) Eventually the Head of Business Affairs at SONY told me that they would be taking no action - 'it wouldn't be worth the expense'

They may have sent a 'cease and desist' letter, I can't remember, but the set was out there and continued to sell at half the price of ours for a long time. I may be whistling in the dark but I can't really see the majors getting heavy over some 1925 recordings by Ladd's Black Aces, ferinstance. (Actually they don't even know what they might purport to own.) It would however be nice if legislation included a performance clause. If, after a agreed length of time, they choose not to reissue something then others would be free to do so.

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It would however be nice if legislation included a performance clause. If, after a agreed length of time, they choose not to reissue something then others would be free to do so.

That would be sensible (and therefore unlikely to happen :D ).

But I agree with you in that many companies might not consider it worthwhile to take action in the case of recordings far older than 50 years and of artists most company exec most likely never were aware of, especially if they did not duplicate any of their current reissue releases.

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