European Copyrights
January 2, 2003 12:14 PM   Subscribe

European music copyrights from the '50s due to expire this year, and to grossly oversimplify things, RIAA is on the warpath, saying that imports from there would be acts of piracy. Considering that there's a gold mine's worth of material begging to be shown the light again (the Maria Callas material mentioned in the article, for example), no doubt there will be some great releases...but will EMI's actions be more the exception than the rule? (NYT link, yadayada)
posted by PeteyStock (17 comments total)
crumble crumble goes the RIAA world. This is pretty sweet, though it almost seems beside the point next to P2P and cd burners.
posted by hackly_fracture at 12:31 PM on January 2, 2003

Copyright seriously needs to be reformed. Till then the RIAA, MPAA, et all are entities that act counter to the intent of the orignal laws.
posted by rudyfink at 12:41 PM on January 2, 2003

Non Registration Version
posted by blue_beetle at 1:01 PM on January 2, 2003

The industry is regretful...

That about sums it up.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:09 PM on January 2, 2003

EMI "wanted to try to legitimize the market" for these live Callas recordings "rather than try to suppress it."

Finally. How many years has it taken them to realize the bootleg market meant there was a *demand* they weren't supplying, a source of revenue they weren't tapping? That means there's hope now they'll eventually realize the internet could actually be a source of revenue for them, rather than something to be suppressed. Too bad that'll take 50 years, too.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:24 PM on January 2, 2003

Oh great, Edith Piaf is going to be the next big thing (again). Thankfully we have another forty years before 'Joe Le Taxi' comes around again though.
posted by wackybrit at 1:41 PM on January 2, 2003

EMI's not the only one figuring this out. Vox seems to have caught a ride on the cluetrain as well.
posted by jburka at 1:42 PM on January 2, 2003

In the meantime, Mr. Turkewitz said, "We will try to get these products blocked," arguing that customs agents "have the authority to seize these European recordings even in the absence of an injunction brought by the copyright owners."

Lemme get this straight: The U.S. Customs Service, a government agency, are going to seize legal products, to keep them out of taxpayers' hands, at taxpayer expense, because the RIAA, a private organization, says so.
posted by RylandDotNet at 2:04 PM on January 2, 2003

posted by eas98 at 2:09 PM on January 2, 2003

A new century and yet, it feels so much like 1902.

Only it isn't Morgan, Rockefeller, and their ilk.
posted by linux at 2:56 PM on January 2, 2003

I'm not usually big on making New Year's resolutions, but I saw a proposal a while ago that caught my eye:

Every time you do something that puts money into the hands of the RIAA or MPAA, make an equal donation to the EFF.

Go to a movie, that's an $8 to the donation. By a CD, add $15. Buy a DVD, add $20. I've thought about it, and I think I should value my freedom at least as much as my entertainment. And show it.
posted by NortonDC at 3:08 PM on January 2, 2003

In the US Constitution, copyrights were for 14 years, renewable once. Now they're 95 years? When did we pass that amendment? If anything, copyright periods should be getting shorter as the means to distribute works are considerably faster than they were 200 years ago.
posted by TimeFactor at 4:56 PM on January 2, 2003

The current copyright lengths are pretty much due entirely to disney, aren't they?
posted by Iax at 7:27 PM on January 2, 2003

Yup. In fact, Disney is trying to get them extended again, because some of their oldest cartoons (including Steamboat Willie) are about to become public domain.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:42 PM on January 2, 2003

Er, in fact they did get them extended again, with the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, in 1998 (forgot about that). But it's being challenged in Eldred v. Ashcroft.
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:04 PM on January 2, 2003

This is particularly ironic, given that the early U.S. publishing industry was built on the backs of copyrighted European works. In the early days of the U.S., copyright in the U.S. was granted only to works created in the U.S. The publishing industry in the U.S. began largely by publishing works which were still under copyright in Europe, without paying any royalties. Now, it seems, the tables are turned.

TimeFactor: While I agree with your general sentiments about the length of copyright, no amendment to the constitution was necessary. The U.S. constitution does not, and never did, specify a length for copyright terms. It grants Congress the power to set copyright terms.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:51 AM on January 3, 2003

An interesting point in the Eldred vs Ashcroft piece is that many of Disney's early works were based on Public Domain works - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Pinocchio, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Alice in Wonderland, and The Jungle Book (released exactly one year after Kipling's copyrights expired)"
posted by viama at 2:58 AM on January 3, 2003

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