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March 09, 2009

The Rhythm

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

I guess everybody enjoys moving to The Gap Band!



posted by Michael at March 9, 2009



Posted by: j on March 9, 2009 12:46 PM

Here's a sad related factoid.

Do you remember the Copyright Extension Act of 1998 (which extended copyright protection for 20 more years). Because of this law, no old works will fall into the public domain between the years 1998 and 2018. (Here's a short essay I wrote about that a few years ago .

Under the old 75 year old law, works produced in 1938 would have gone into the public domain this year. That means the major works by Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers would have gone into the public domain (in addition to works by Hemingway and Fitzgerald, not to mention all those talented nobodies whom we never hear about).

So this video is technically copyright infringement (although I think google has negotiated side agreements with media owners to allow them advertising in exchange for use on the Youtube site).

here's another sad fact. Do you know that until 1972, most fixed music recordings (i.e., LPs) were covered not by copyright law but the contract law within the state of production. So fixed musical recordings won't fall into the public domain until 2067 at the earliest? That applies even to works before 1922. For example did you know that Time Warner still owns a lot of studio recordings from Thomas Edison's time in the 19th century which won't go into the public domain until 2067?

(Contrast that with Europe, which with its more reasonable copyright laws, allowed works by Frank Sinatra and Elvis to go into public domain recently).

Ironically, while most of the world has unimpeded access to America's early jazz greats, Americans do not.

I calculated recently that the U.S will probably have space elevators to go up in space before Andrew Sister's Bei Mir Bist du Schon (1936) goes into the public domain.

Few issues rile me up more than copyright reform. The fact that youtube has negotiated these agreements with Time-Warner, Viacom, Universal doesn't really comfort me. The law needs to be changed.

Posted by: Robert Nagle on March 10, 2009 2:00 AM

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