Why is it not in the public domain?

2010 January 1
by Simba
A copyright will protect you from PIRATE by Ioan Sameli, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License by  Ioan Sameli

Entering a new year, it can be wise to give thought to how things could have been. Most of the world follows the USA when it comes to copyright laws, and they keep extending the copyright terms again and again. Which makes very little sense from a society stand point. Extending the copyright on the 1930s recordings of Juan D’Arienzo isn’t exactly making him pour out new hit records every month…

If the US copyright law valid until 1978 were still in effect (and equivalent law in the rest of the world), recordings made up to 1953 would today enter the public domain. Since it is not, we have to resort to quasi (ill)legal means to get copies of some of the very gems of the golden age tango recordings.

Tangocommuter is feeling the pain. I say it’s time to do something about these ridiculous laws.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. 2010 January 3

    Many thanks, Simba! But it’s not really fair to say I’m feeling pain, not yet! They’ve put a link on two of my videos (at http://www.youtube.com/tanguero2x4) offering viewers the possibility to buy the track as a download. I’ve no problem with that. But it does pain me to see that the sound track has been removed from other videos (not mine, not yet) because of copyright violation.

    If I remember right, part of the problem goes back to ageing 60s rockers, who suddenly realised that under older copyright laws they faced an old age without royalties from their youthful output, and would have to sell off the odd private jet/yacht/mansion in order to get by. But the main problem is simply the greed of big corporations. I’m all for the artist being paid for creation: I’m not that keen on an artist’s descendants getting anything for it, but the idea of corporations and their shareholders continuing to profit from work created long ago is simply outrageous.

  2. 2010 January 3

    Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it was the removal of sound I was thinking of. I don’t mind them selling their stuff or copyright in itself either.

    What I object to is that they several times retroactively extended the terms, and that they now are outrageously long. The usual suspect is Mickey Mouse and his ‘parent’ Disney. In fact I don’t even mind them being greedy, but the politicians shouldn’t have given them all this free money.

  3. 2010 January 3

    ‘We gotta cut out the greedheads!’ (‘Lord’ Buckley.) I bet they PAID the politicians to give them all this free money!

  4. 2010 January 4

    The Content Industry is gearing up to become a real Orwellian threat. The ongoing “negotiations” on the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (ACTA), for example, are going on in secrecy and have been placed, in the face of FOIA requests in the USA, under protection of the US State Secrets Act. Go figure…
    The Content Industry has for some time now basically written laws and had politicians in their pockets force them down the throats of citizens, with the help of US diplomatic pressure. It seems now they will even be able to circumvent the legal system entirely when enforcing their claims in some countries.
    It is basically a case of a handful of very greedy people shaping public discourse and writing their own paychecks – drawn from our bank accounts. *end of rant*

  5. 2010 January 5

    Yes, it’s a sad state of affairs. No wonder law professor Lawrence Lessig went from working with copyrights to fighting corruption…

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