There are many musicians in the US who are concerned about the long arm of the corporation, but what's lacking as of now is the organization that the Canadians demonstrated. But because of the example of those brave Cannucks (sp?), I won't be too surprised if a similar organization pops up in the States before long. Though I'm not exactly a famous artist, I'd join up in a heartbeat.
>>> [log in to unmask] 05/16/06 9:08 AM >>>
What libraries (and those on our side of the copyright issue) need is their
own counterpart to Cliff Richard: a famous musician willing to speak out
against these laws. Not unlike that group of Canadian musicians mentioned
here not long ago.
--On Sunday, May 14, 2006 4:02 PM -0400 Tim Brooks <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> The British government is being heavily lobbied by the recording
> companies to extend the copyright term for recordings there from the
> present 50 years to as much as 95, and make it retroactive. That would
> pretty much shut down the UK's historic reissue industry. There have
> been a number of pro and con letters in the British papers. Cliff
> Richard (the UK's Sonny Bono?) has been making the rounds on behalf of
> the record companies urging extension, so he can keep getting royalties
> from his 1950s hits.
> ARSC member David Patmore was asked by CHARM, a consortium of English
> universities interested in record preservation and study, to write a
> position paper on the subject for submission to Andrew Gowers, who is
> studying the matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer. After
> supplying David with some information, I decided to write a letter
> myself and, to my surprise, the Times of London printed it last
> Thursday(abridged), with mention of ARSC. See the link below.
> Following that is the full letter as submitted.
> I encourage others on the list to get involved before this is decided!
> Here are some addresses David supplied me:
> [log in to unmask]
> [log in to unmask] (The Financial Times)
> [log in to unmask]
> letters@ independent.co.uk
> They all ask for any correspondence to be accompanied by the sender's
> name, postal address and daytime telephone number.
> Tim Brooks
> Copyright & Fair Use Committee
> (my thanks to committee member Dick Spottswood for his input.)
> In a message dated 5/11/2006 5:09:39 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> [log in to unmask] writes:
> Hi Tim - the letter is in today's issue of The Times as a leading item on
> the letters page, p. 18.
> It reads very powerfully - the only cut has been the names of the record
> It's also on the web at
> I have two copies of this issue and will bring them to Seattle - look
> forward to seeing you there.
> Very best wishes and many thanks again for your greatly valued support -
> To the Editor:
> As Britons consider the appeals of the large record companies to lengthen
> the copyright term for recordings from its present 50 years to as much
> as 95, I hope they will consider?and learn about?the disastrous cultural
> consequences such long periods of exclusivity have had in the United
> States. This matter is currently under review by Mr. Andrew Gowers for
> the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
> According to a recent study rights holders in the U.S. have made
> available only 10% of the most historic pre-1955 recordings they
> control, either themselves or by licensing to others. Moreover this
> figure is heavily weighted toward more recent periods (the 1940s and
> 1950s); as one goes further back the percentage dwindles to almost
> nothing. What the record companies really want is the small fraction of
> older recordings that can still make them lots of money. The rest they
> Ethnic and minority musics are particularly hard hit, since they are not
> big money makers. According to the study most of the historic blues
> recordings available in the U.S. came from overseas labels (including
> the U.K.) or illegal issues, not the "rights holders." While doing
> research for a book on the earliest (pre-1920) black recording artists I
> was startled to learn than most of those recordings are still controlled
> by modern corporations, who have made available fewer than one percent
> of them. The book, appropriately, is called Lost Sounds.
> Britain is home to some of the best and most respected historic reissue
> labels in the world, including Document and Pearl. They are where most
> Americans hear their own recorded history, since it is buried by
> copyright law in their own country. This industry will be shut down, or
> severely curtailed, if the major labels get their way, and don't count
> on the majors to take their place.
> Sir Cliff Richard says it is "only fair" that he should reap royalties
> from his earliest recordings for a century or so. But most artists,
> especially early ones, had to sign away their rights just to get
> recorded. Long copyright terms mainly benefit recording companies, not
> long-ago artists or their heirs. And ultimately the ability to live off
> the past will make British companies less, not more, competitive. Why
> take the risks needed to develop the next Beatles when you can milk the
> old ones indefinitely?
> Copyright is supposed to balance the rights of creators with those of
> history and society. In recent years there has been a backlash against
> overly long copyright terms in the U.S., as the public realizes it was
> sold out for the special interests. I hope the British public does not
> allow itself to be similarly swindled.
> Tim Brooks
> Chair, Copyright & Fair Use Committee, Association for Recorded Sound
> Greenwich, CT USA