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Record Industry Braces for Artistsĺ Battles Over Song Rights
NYT ^ | 8/15/11 | LARRY ROHTER

Posted on 08/15/2011 10:46:58 AM PDT by Borges

Since their release in 1978, hit albums like Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” Billy Joel’s “52nd Street,” the Doobie Brothers’ “Minute by Minute,” Kenny Rogers’s “Gambler” and Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove” have generated tens of millions of dollars for record companies. But thanks to a little-noted provision in United States copyright law, those artists — and thousands more — now have the right to reclaim ownership of their recordings, potentially leaving the labels out in the cold.

When copyright law was revised in the mid-1970s, musicians, like creators of other works of art, were granted “termination rights,” which allow them to regain control of their work after 35 years, so long as they apply at least two years in advance. Recordings from 1978 are the first to fall under the purview of the law, but in a matter of months, hits from 1979, like “The Long Run” by the Eagles and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, will be in the same situation — and then, as the calendar advances, every other master recording once it reaches the 35-year mark.

The provision also permits songwriters to reclaim ownership of qualifying songs. Bob Dylan has already filed to regain some of his compositions, as have other rock, pop and country performers like Tom Petty, Bryan Adams, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Waits and Charlie Daniels, according to records on file at the United States Copyright Office.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: bigmedia; copyright; copyrightlaw; musicindustry

1 posted on 08/15/2011 10:47:02 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

If that’s what the law says, then good for the artists in figuring out how to regain control of their work. So, essentially, instead of selling the rights, they’re just leasing them for 35 years.


2 posted on 08/15/2011 10:50:19 AM PDT by kevkrom (This space for rent.)
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To: Borges
Look for the record companies to flood the market with cheap versions of the records they are about to lose rights to just to keep the bands from making much money on them afterward.
3 posted on 08/15/2011 10:55:35 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (The Repubs and Dems are arguing whether to pour 9 or 10 buckets of gasoline on a burning house.)
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To: Borges

Good news.


4 posted on 08/15/2011 10:55:55 AM PDT by dangerdoc (see post #6)
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To: kevkrom

But what the artists don’t get is the label name that originally carried their recording (like Capitol did the Beatles etc.) So if the artists want to keep selling it they have to come up with a private but convincing label name, or come to a new marketing agreement with their old label.


5 posted on 08/15/2011 10:56:23 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Label name? Who bothers to check the label name when they click ‘buy’ in itunes?


6 posted on 08/15/2011 10:59:11 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: kevkrom

I still don’t understand the imbalance between a super-drug that saves lives getting only seven years of copyright protection, but music (good, crappy, or indifferent) getting upwards of 100 years or more of copyright protection.


7 posted on 08/15/2011 11:00:24 AM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: TalonDJ

So long as they verify the genuine recording artists as well as the song and composer. Who wants a K-tel cover of a gen-u-wine Beatles song?


8 posted on 08/15/2011 11:01:27 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: TalonDJ
Who bothers to check the label name when they click ‘buy’ in itunes?

Exactly.

9 posted on 08/15/2011 11:02:02 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: HiTech RedNeck

With the advent of downloadable music there really is no need for a record lab;e for the older stuff.If they need one they can call it “Directly from” and form their own to allow downloads of their previous hits.There are many loyal fans who would gladly pay the artist rather than the record company.


10 posted on 08/15/2011 11:02:16 AM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: Borges

Well, good news after a fashion.

Quite frankly, all works should be public domain after 14 years, or 28 if the artist or author — not the publisher, not an artistic estate, the artist or author — requests an extension.

The last good copyright law was the Law of Queen Anne. The last good patent law was the Statute on Monopolies of 1624.


11 posted on 08/15/2011 11:04:16 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
But what the artists don’t get is the label name that originally carried their recording (like Capitol did the Beatles etc.) So if the artists want to keep selling it they have to come up with a private but convincing label name, or come to a new marketing agreement with their old label.

If the song is big enough to still be making profits, all that will happen is that the old label that used to own it will pony up some more cash for a license fee. Or another label will buy it. As long as there's a cash stream involved, one of the labels will pay a discounted present value of those future earnings. All this provision does is permit the artist to renegotiate (or even refuse to negotiate at all) for the royalties she or he will get from proven moneymaking songs.

12 posted on 08/15/2011 11:09:23 AM PDT by FateAmenableToChange
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To: who_would_fardels_bear

Politics has pumped the literary world vastly more than the technology world, for ill or for good.

We can probably count on there always being a Disney with its private Mickey Mouse as copyright terms keep getting incremented just short of forever.


13 posted on 08/15/2011 11:09:23 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: who_would_fardels_bear
I still don’t understand the imbalance between a super-drug that saves lives getting only seven years of copyright protection, but music (good, crappy, or indifferent) getting upwards of 100 years or more of copyright protection.

It's 20 years from the date of the filing of the patent application (which might in extreme cases work out to only 7 years of patent protection). The name of the drug will be trademarked. I don't think any of it is copyrighted.

14 posted on 08/15/2011 11:11:35 AM PDT by FateAmenableToChange
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To: who_would_fardels_bear
I believe that relates to the difference between a patent and a copyright.

Interestingly (and I may be wrong about this), I believe there are two different motivations related to the public's interest when it comes to these two different types of legal protection. A patent is aimed at protecting someone who invents something and enables that person to profit from the invention over a specified period of time. The public interest lies in stimulating new inventions over time that help improve our lives in ways that are increasingly cost-efficient. That's why a patent only lasts for a limited period of time.

A copyright, on the other hand, is aimed at protecting published works over long periods of time. There is no "public interest" in allowing someone else to re-write a work of fiction or re-write a musical composition, whereas there is definitely a "public interest" in encouraging inventors to improve upon existing technology, products, etc. In the case of a published work, the protection of the original work is what gives it value.

That's just my take on it.

15 posted on 08/15/2011 11:14:22 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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46 Days And FR Is Still Short Of Its Goal

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Support Free Republic

16 posted on 08/15/2011 11:14:41 AM PDT by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: Borges
"“In terms of all those big acts you name, the recording industry has made a gazillion dollars on those masters, more than the artists have,” said Don Henley, a founder both of the Eagles and the Recording Artists Coalition, which seeks to protect performers’ legal rights. “So there’s an issue of parity here, of fairness. This is a bone of contention, and it’s going to get more contentious in the next couple of years."

I find it quite hilarious that an ultra lefty like Don Henley speaks like a conservative on personal property rights when it comes to his and his friends music but wants all the rest of us to "share the wealth" in every other aspect of our lives. I will say I love the tune Boys of Summer. That's one point in his favor.
17 posted on 08/15/2011 11:25:17 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

In the immortal words of Mojo Nixon, “Don Henley Must Die.”


18 posted on 08/15/2011 11:26:32 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator
In the immortal words of Mojo Nixon


19 posted on 08/15/2011 11:49:19 AM PDT by frithguild (RINO's are more damaging than hard lefties.)
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To: Borges

Anyone remember when John Fogerty released his “Centerfield” album he was sued by Fantasy records for copyright infringement because he used a riff from an old CCR song THAT HE WROTE in one of the songs on “Centerfield?”

Whatever happened there?


20 posted on 08/15/2011 11:53:11 AM PDT by fredhead (I'm not sleeping, I'm checking my eyelids for cracks.)
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To: Borges

ooops....that’s what happens when Congress rushes through a bill to please Disney and maintain their copyright on Mickey Mouse until the Second Coming


21 posted on 08/15/2011 11:59:05 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: The_Reader_David
all works should be public domain after 14 years

You have spoken as someone who has no idea what you are talking about.

I just put up a song on iTunes and Amazon mp3 I wrote in 1992.

I recently re-recorded the song and paid for the entire master recording, including hiring some great Nashville musicians and singers.

This song has never before been for sale to the public.

It is NOT uncommon for good songs to never be recorded for sale to the public for YEARS after they are written.

The writing of a song is the creation of the work "in tangible form" and thus begins the copyright

I am sure the same could be said for poems, books, screenplays and a host of other creative works.

For works created after 1978, the term of copyright is the lifetime of the author plus 70 years.

What is really good about the termination of assignment of copyrights, as discussed in this article, is the reversion of the copyrights to their original creator(s) or heirs.

Many copyrighted songs were assigned under horrible terms, unconscionably disfavoring the original creator(s) who were often young, inexperienced composers and artists when such assignments were executed.

It has been a sad history of exploitation that young hopeful creative people have often been royally screwed by moguls and corporations knowing such young hopefuls are so desperate for a "break," they would sign anything placed before them.

This termination of assignments brings some fairness back to the creator(s) or their heirs.

22 posted on 08/15/2011 12:00:16 PM PDT by NoControllingLegalAuthority (Where is the middle ground on insolvency of the United States government?)
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To: Borges

“...potentially leaving the labels out in the cold.”

Breaks my heart.


23 posted on 08/15/2011 12:15:29 PM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

And, to boot, the artists signed those contracts. It’s hard to complain about fairness and parity when they entered into the deal of their own free will. Those same contracts are now giving them the rights to renegotiate now, so it is folly to decry one part of the deal while praising the other .


24 posted on 08/15/2011 12:37:52 PM PDT by kevkrom (This space for rent.)
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To: fredhead
Anyone remember when John Fogerty released his “Centerfield” album he was sued by Fantasy records for copyright infringement because he used a riff from an old CCR song THAT HE WROTE in one of the songs on “Centerfield?”

I also remember that he was forced to change the title of "Zanz Kant Danz" to "Vanz Kant Danz", since Zanz was a play on the name of Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz.

25 posted on 08/15/2011 12:41:40 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: NoControllingLegalAuthority

On a related note, I just learned something interesting about copyrights.

Was listening to a Christian radio station where they were reading passages out of the Bible. After the readings they read a disclaimer that said “Copyright 1992, XYZ Publishing Co., All Rights Reserved”.

Apparently you CAN copyright the Word of God!
Or at least a particular translation of it.


26 posted on 08/15/2011 12:43:37 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: NoControllingLegalAuthority

I’ll say it again: the last good copyright law was the Law of Queen Anne.

You disagree with my minimalist position on copyright, and defend laws I object to, but that is very different from my speaking as one who has no idea what I’m talking about. Copyright has ceased to function as the Founders (who had in mind the Law of Queen Anne and the Statute on Monopolies of 1624 when they include Congress’s powers in that regard in the Constitution) intended. Lifetime of author plus seventy year is an impediment to the arts, as it prevents derivative works.

I think you missed the word “should” in my post. I’m advocating a return to the Law of Queen Anne’s terms, not out of ignorance of the present state of copyright law, but in objection to it.


27 posted on 08/15/2011 12:51:31 PM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden
I will say I love the tune Boys of Summer. That's one point in his favor.

The music of which was composed by someone else. No one would care about Henley's lyrics with bad music.
28 posted on 08/15/2011 12:53:31 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

“Labels are people.”


29 posted on 08/15/2011 12:58:26 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: The_Reader_David
Quite frankly, all works should be public domain after 14 years, or 28 if the artist or author — not the publisher, not an artistic estate, the artist or author — requests an extension.

The problem with current copyright law is that much content is lost when it goes out of print. Movies, music, and books that do not justify continual re-publishing will have their media long be lost by the time they come into public domain, whereas public-domain content will always find SOMEBODY that likes it well enough to give it disk space on the internet.

30 posted on 08/15/2011 1:04:19 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (When you've only heard lies your entire life, the truth sounds insane.)
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To: NoControllingLegalAuthority

When he was 21 or so, Billy Joel signed an onerous contract with a pop svengali that gave that person royalties from Joel’s subsequent career at Columbia records lasting well into the mid 1980s...until that label bought out the contract as a favor to Joel.


31 posted on 08/15/2011 1:04:31 PM PDT by Borges
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To: KarlInOhio
Look for the record companies to flood the market with cheap versions of the records they are about to lose rights to just to keep the bands from making much money on them afterward.

Since I don't view the artists as being nearly as greedy as RIAA, even if they tripled their income per recording, it would still be less than the crooks' "cheap" versions.

Not likely to work.

I have always wondered why the option of buying directly from the artist was not an option.

32 posted on 08/15/2011 2:40:44 PM PDT by Publius6961 (My world was lovely, until it was taken over by parasites.)
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To: Publius6961
I have always wondered why the option of buying directly from the artist was not an option.

Wonder no more. The last 5 CD I've bought (all over the Net) were from independent labels , likely the artists' own imprints, with no signs on them of association with the big 4, as was the case until recently when artists presented their albums on what looked like their own labels (such as, say, Apple Records (EMI), or Rolling Stones Records (WB, Universal) both distributed by the international giants.)

33 posted on 08/15/2011 2:50:56 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Borges

Isn’t that the story behind his song “The Great Wall of China”?


34 posted on 08/15/2011 3:28:31 PM PDT by LostInBayport (When there are more people riding in the cart than there are pulling it, the cart stops moving...)
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To: The_Reader_David

As the spouse of a composer, I disagree strongly. Copyright should be for the entire life of the composer, the lives of his children and grandchildren, just as a house and land are passed down from parent to child.


35 posted on 08/15/2011 3:41:49 PM PDT by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: NoControllingLegalAuthority

As the spouse of a composer I of course agree with you. I have found ghat it’s almost impossible to communicate about these issues with civilians, even if they are really smart and educated. I had a good friend who was an important figure in painting - a very intelligent and educated person - she thought that making an album was you go into a place and play some songs while a recorder is running. Could not grasp the idea of rehearsal. multiple takes, ovetdubs even when it was explained to her.


36 posted on 08/15/2011 3:56:21 PM PDT by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: Alberta's Child

Thank you. Very well put.


37 posted on 08/15/2011 3:59:01 PM PDT by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: kabumpo

So you’ve bought into the reification of a government granted monopoly as “property”, and want to collect rents in perpetuity. How nice. Rent seeking is always a drag on the productive economy.

Martha Graham’s dances were nearly lost because relatives who gained control of her artistic legacy wouldn’t let them be performed while the dancers who had muscle memory of them could teach others because they weren’t going to be paid enough. Derivative works (e.g. use of Robert Frost’s poetry as song lyrics) are suppressed because commercial publishers, holding the rights to the poems, want a fat cut decades after the artist died.

Copyright and patents are not inalienable human rights: they are state granted monopolies, whose purpose under the Constitution is to promote the arts and sciences. As it is, they do the opposite. I dare say, the chief effect of your grandchildren holding monopoly rights over your spouse’s compositions will be to suppress their performance, to keep remix artists from breathing new life into recording of your spouse’s works by sampling them, and to prevent other composers from composing “Variations of a theme of [substitute the real name of kabumpo’s spouse here]”. What is more, it is likely that they will derive very little income from exercising that control, well, not unless your spouse’s compositions become iconic like “Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree”, and your progeny lie in wait to sue other artists who quote a melodic line in tribute, the way Men at Work did in the flute riff in “The Land Down Under”.

One reason I bring up the old laws I regard as good models is that they were promulgated in a time when it was recognized that copyright and patents are state granted monopolies, not “property”. The phrase “intellectual property” only came into common use in the 1870’s, championed, of course, by folks who, like you, wanted to collect rents from a government-granted monopoly.

I guess some even FReepers don’t mind the expansion of state power, so long as they get to profit from it.


38 posted on 08/15/2011 7:42:05 PM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: The_Reader_David

I have yet to hear a remix that “breathed new life” into anything. Why would any work of art need new life? The person who created the work didn’t cannibalize an earlier piece - why doesn’t the new life breather breath his own original work?


39 posted on 08/15/2011 8:10:18 PM PDT by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: Borges

It’s too bad we’re not one nation under a groove.


40 posted on 08/15/2011 8:13:43 PM PDT by InvisibleChurch (Freeper football "Free Men or Lickspittle". Ask me how and why!)
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To: LostInBayport

No that was about a former manager who had been ripping him off. A genuine criminal. This was just a bad contract signed by a naive kid.


41 posted on 08/15/2011 8:44:59 PM PDT by Borges
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To: 537cant be wrong; Aeronaut; ├čudda├čudd; bassmaner; Bella_Bru; Big Guy and Rusty 99; Brian Allen; ..

Rock PING


42 posted on 08/15/2011 8:49:11 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The liberal press applauded when the NY Times hacked Newt Gingrich's phone calls.)
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To: Alberta's Child

Public domain expiration of copyright is long established and was meant to build the cultural fabric of this nation just as the expiration of patents extends our technology development.

Big Media pwns this nation’s exported legacy of the 20th century and will not give it up now. The corrupt thugs who run the media know that they would be bankrupt if not for the 70 years of pre-published works that keep them solvant.

Ask the artists on Atlantic records about when the label stole the publishing rights to their songs. Ask those who managed to maintain some of their rights about the checks they were never paid for decades.

Look up the drug and other payola the big labels used in the 70s and 80s long after the INDEPENDENT labels got run out of radio airplay.


43 posted on 08/15/2011 8:57:02 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The liberal press applauded when the NY Times hacked Newt Gingrich's phone calls.)
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To: Alberta's Child

Public domain expiration of copyright is long established and was meant to build the cultural fabric of this nation just as the expiration of patents extends our technology development.

Big Media pwns this nation’s exported legacy of the 20th century and will not give it up now. The corrupt thugs who run the media know that they would be bankrupt if not for the 70 years of pre-published works that keep them solvant.

Ask the artists on Atlantic records about when the label stole the publishing rights to their songs. Ask those who managed to maintain some of their rights about the checks they were never paid for decades.

Look up the drug and other payola the big labels used in the 70s and 80s long after the INDEPENDENT labels got run out of radio airplay.


44 posted on 08/15/2011 8:57:07 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The liberal press applauded when the NY Times hacked Newt Gingrich's phone calls.)
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To: Alberta's Child

Shakespere’s works weren’t legally published in his lifetime. We know of them at least in part through bootlegged transcriptions.

The works of Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain are public domain as well as those of Charles Dickens. Doesn’t seem like they’be been “cheapened” as a result. Unless you think it has stagnated theater and cinema.

Broadway seems locked into a fascination recasting old movies with ironic casts these days rather than developing any “compelling” content.


45 posted on 08/15/2011 9:01:21 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The liberal press applauded when the NY Times hacked Newt Gingrich's phone calls.)
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To: kabumpo

Okay, I’m assuming there that by the time your grandchildren are controlling the rights, that modern remixing using sampling will have matured. But then entire history of music is full of remixing done the old way:

I guess Tallis’s Third Mode Melody was just doing fine turn of the 20th century, everyone was listening to it all the time, no need to breath new life into it — pity his great-great-. . .-great-grandchildren didn’t still have the rights so they could collect royalties. That Ralph Vaughn Williams was just a “cannibal”: he should have composed his own theme instead of lifting the melody to use in probably the most sublime orchestral work of the 20th century, Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis.

And that Tchaikovsky, “cannibalizing” the Russian chant setting to the Beatitudes, The Marseillaise, and folk-dance tunes, without paying royalties! For shame!

Creativity and music are so much helped by making musical themes into property so that other composers can’t quote them in tribute or make thematic references. It would have been so much better if Paganini’s estate had prevented the composition of Variations on a Theme of Paganini, if a Haydn Foundation had prevented Brahms from composing Variations on a Theme of Haydn or been able to sue him for royalties, . . .

Why let’s extend this sort of thinking to my area of creative endeavor: no one can use a mathematical theorem unless they scrupulously request rights and pay royalties to the mathematician who proved it, or his estate or his publisher! Reprove a theorem you didn’t know someone else had proved, get sued! Mathematics would grind to a screeching halt.


46 posted on 08/15/2011 9:13:57 PM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: a fool in paradise

Actually some of Twain’s work is still under copyright. The letters for instance.


47 posted on 08/15/2011 9:16:13 PM PDT by Borges
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