Beatles copyright due to expire in 2013

Thoughtful article from the BBC:

In 2013, copyright in the sound recording of the Beatles’ first album expires, as it will for recordings from Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard and other performers of the same period.

Of course, copyright of all works expires at some point. This is for a clear reason. Copyright is designed to provide reward and incentive for creators and innovators. It also recognises that innovators and creators build on works from the past, and that they need to access these works if art, culture and science are to flourish.

In the midst of an explosion in digital music sales, and a flourishing new music scene, industry executives are lobbying the UK government to extend protection for sound recordings from 50 years to 95.

This, they say, would protect existing revenue streams that bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones provide.

The article raised a number of good points, but this one was the most telling. Copyright is supposed to exist to foster innovation and creativity. They want it extended to protect the revenue streams that 40 year old albums represent.

Here’s a crazy thought: Maybe they should put more effort into developing the next Beatles, rather than trying to milk legacy albums at the expense of the public domain. You know, the way copyright is supposed to work.


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