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The core of any copyright law itself is strange. The fact someone can put notes or words in a certain order and claim the right to be the only person on earth to do so. An author didn’t invent nor discover notes or words. It’s also conceivable another author uses the same notes and words in the same order.; unlikely but conceivable. I know lots of music that sounds a lot like other pieces of music and I read a lot of writers who claim similar thoughts on similar matters.
In an Ideal World all ideas and therefore also all music, literature, movies and art would be shared by all people.
But at a certain point people attached another way to earn money on art apart from simply selling it. A logical move at that time; radio stations attracted listeners by broadcasting music, earned money by selling air time for advertising. It was only fair the authors of the music got their share. But this model is obsolete since the Internet. It just doesn’t work anymore and the industry may be in denial about it but that doesn’t make it less true.
The World has changed. People still love music but are sick of the never-ending flow of commercials. Thanks to the Internet one can enjoy music without having to listen to commercials. One can read articles without browsing through pages full of ads. Adds on the web are easily ignored. Advertisers need to find new ways to reach consumers; new ways that don’t irritate. And they haven’t succeeded in doing so by far. So with the help of major media corporations, who also depend on advertising money, they try to kill the Internet. By doing so they hope to turn us into couch potato’s again; taking in our daily dose of ads as we used to do back in the days before the Internet.
Musicians, writers and artists have a right to earn money with their craft. Any corporation that uses music to gain an audience should pay for that music. But this flow of money is drying up because the Internet offers such a huge amount of music. One can’t expect the public to pay for every bit of music they hear or share; that’s just impossible. That’s also capitalism; a simple matter of too much supply and not enough demand. But whenever the market works AGAINST big corporations they try to change the rules.
The fact that the supply of music that is rights free has grown in an even higher rate than copyrighted materials on the web is totally ignored by legislators. This segment of free music is the part of the entertainment industry will get hit hardest by laws like SOPA and PIPA. We as the public are forced to choose between commercial mainstream art and art made by people who share their passion for their own art. But the fact these forms of arts overlap is completely ignored. Someone who is trying to establish his name in art wants to use the Internet and share his art for free and gain notoriety that way. After gaining an audience he most probably wants to get paid so he can devote more time to his craft.
It’s about time copyright laws get modernized. Here are a few proposals. Some are pretty wild…
1. Copyrights should be shortened in time. These rights now last until 70 years after the Death of the author and that’s way too long.
2. It’s not nice if you’re years ahead of your time as an author and your work only gets discovered by the general audience decades after you wrote it. That’s why the time copyrights last should be flexible. How about if they would last until 15 years ‘after’ mainstream audiences discover a piece? One may pinpoint the moment a piece breaks by looking at hit charts or increased value of the piece in question on the market.
3. One should not be able to sell copyrights to publishers; they should be inalienable connected to the writer or artist. Publishers are leeches that benefit from work they haven’t written themselves and they bore us by reselling old music through shitty shows like the voice of Holland. Publishers are the ones that benefit from laws like SOPA and PIPA the most. Creators of art can and will not deny that the free flow of information and art works in their advantage but publishers do not benefit from anything that comes for free. They would not hesitate to turn the world into a police state if that would ensure their profits.
4. Let’s put a limit to the amount of money that can be made with the copyright on a certain work of art. Let’s say 10 million dollars for a song or 100 million for a movie. After making such amounts the creators of the art have enough money to last them a lifetime and this particular work of art should be declared as a ‘world heritage’ and used and shared or free by anybody.
5. An additional law that prevents rerelease of these world hit songs as covers may be useful.
The Ideal World came a bit closer with the Internet. The spasmodic way the power mongers on this earth react to the changes made by the web proves that. It’s impossible for a government to convince a Chinese worker he should work ten hours a day, every day, when that man is able to watch us working 8 hours for five days a week only. It’s impossible for a government to convince an Arab student that his people are not ready for democracy because he and his countrymen might choose the kind of leaders our western leaders don’t like. It’s impossible for a government to convince a western youth not to share the art he likes with anyone, not even with his friends.
Good music has an effect on people which is nothing short of messianic: listen to this; this kicks ass! That’s the way good music always got around; peer-to-peer. In contrast one can only sell bad music by plugging it on radio and TV.