Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Copyright or copywrong?
Copyright hit a nerve in my recent posts on the Naxos Hansel and Gretel and the Modern Jazz Quartet re-releases. So today's story that musicians are pressing for an extension of mechanical copyright in the EEC from 50 to 95 years makes interesting reading. In the United States the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended copyright on mechanical recordings to 2067. As a result, no sound recording can be considered, definitively, to be in the public domain in the US before that date, even if the recording was made before 1923 and even if it was recorded in another country where it has already entered the public domain. This disparity between US and EEC copyright law allows recordings such as the 1953 EMI Hansel and Gretel to be copied by Naxos and others for resale in the EEC but not in the US. But the record companies are using technology to keep recordings in copyright.
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