I assume writers and artists expected to get paid back then too. Not like now when they are expected to work for favorites.
"She explains she doesn’t mind about people downloading her music for free, “because you know how much you can earn off touring, right? Big artists can make anywhere from $40 million [£28 million] for one cycle of two years’ touring. Giant artists make upwards of $100 million. Make music – then tour. It’s just the way it is today.”
America chose a different path. In 1978 and 1998 Congress extended, reshaped and expanded copyright durations and the scope of copyright for existing and future works (see Peter Hirtle's authoritative website for the gory details). For new works produced after January 1st 1978, the period of protection is the same as in the EU. But for works published from 1923 to 1977 for which copyright was properly registered and renewed (as applicable in the period when originally registered or created), copyright was prolonged to a full 75 years from publication regardless of the author's presence among the living. (Work by employees for a company or for which copyright has been entirely assigned to a firm, so-called "work for hire", has a different set of rules.)
In 1998 this was extended to 95 years, partly thanks to lobbying efforts by Disney. It wanted to prevent the first Mickey Mouse film, "Steamboat Willie", from entering the public domain. According to the old rules, the animation, released in 1928, would have been free to reproduce, modify and sell on January 1st 2004. Disney is a conspicuous and prolific user of the public domain, Mr Boyle notes, while remaining one of the most ardent defenders of keeping its own material out of it.
Underlying the debate on intellectual property is an ideological faultline between capitalist models and alternatives, writes Sabine Nuss. Although a property approach to intellectual goods has major disadvantages it remains the lesser of many evils.
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