Canada's music copyright extension will cost Canadians millions


Makes me wonder why musicians still think they need record companies. Musicians have Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, etc to show off their music and build up a rep for their music

F*ck the record companies!


I’m pretty sure that within my lifetime I’ll see the industrialized nations move to never expiring copyrights. Nothing will ever go into public domain again.


“Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution. … As you know, there is also [then-MPAA president] Jack Valenti’s proposal for term to last forever less one day.”

None of the people named there are actual content creators, are they? Couldn’t they line up some starving artists to work as spokesartists?

Also, I hope somebody pointed out to Valenti that “infinity minus one” is not actually a number.


I’d love to help you out, sir. Which way did you come in?

Well, the Sonny was Sonny Bono, the out of tune half of Sonny & Cher… :slight_smile:

Yup. Though I don’t think we should allow content creators to decide how long copyright should last, either. Since they have every incentive for it to last forever, the same way the big corps do.

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Very few ‘content creators’ are creating content whole cloth out of thin air. Almost all artistic work is built upon a foundation of earlier work. Fair Use and limited copyright are essential to the future of all artistic endeavors.


I agree 100%. But many content creators don’t. Particularly ones who haven’t created any new content of any worth in 20 years or more.


I know, but Mary Bono was no part at all of Sonny and Cher.

Other than receiving royalties as part of Sonny’s estate…

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Totally agree. A few years ago I read an interesting article featuring an economist talking about copyright duration. He had analyzed the whole economic picture; artist’s revenue, cultural cost & benefit, all sorts of things.

He determined that copyright should most logically be tied to the difficulty of duplication. In the era where one needed to build a multi-million dollar factory to press vinyl to duplicate a record or make a film to film transfer of a movie, copyright should last longer than when one needed only wait thirty minutes to make a cassette of a thirty minute album or 2 hours to tape a 2 hour movie.

Copyright should be even shorter when one can reproduce a 60 minute CD or DVD in 5 minutes or so. Even shorter with copying an audio or video file to a hard drive. I recall his optimal “CD era” copyright was around 5 years. With few exceptions, a song/book/movie… will make the most revenue when it’s first released and pretty much exponentially decay after that, with shorter and shorter time constants as technology & tastes evolve faster & faster.

Cutting copyright would reduce most artists’ revenue by a per cent or so over the lifetime of the work. The ones it might take a bigger bite out of are far more successful anyway, and can well afford a somewhat larger hit. (The 1% of the music world?)

A musician friend of mine is adamantly for longer copyright. “this is the legacy I’ll leave to support my children”. My response is that unless you’re the Beatles or something like that, it’s not going to make one whit of difference to your kids.

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Then he might want to invest the money he makes while he is alive rather than rely on copyright law.

I’m for copyright for the lifetime of the original artist and then public domain when they exit from life stage right. If they didn’t leave anything for the kiddies, eh.


What about use in ads, movies etc? A guy I worked with wrote a song that was a hit in 1980, ten years later a coffee company used it in an ad. The money he got from that paid off his mortgage.
A five year copyright would see advertisers and film makers only using music that is five years or older. At fifty we’d see a lot of Elvis and early Beatles being used, at seventy the most modern would be Glen miller.

What about it? Sure, there are some works that have profitable lives far longer than average. Good for them! But for every hit 80s song that is still making someone money, there are thousands that aren’t. Thousands that, however much or little, made 99.9% of all the income they’ll ever produce within five years or less.

Do we want to make tax laws that benefit the very rich at the expense of the poor?

Do we want to make copyright law that benefits the Disneys of the world at the expense of culture? (Check out the state of Canada’s documentary film industry, for example.)

Do you really think a five year copyright would result in the upcoming Star Wars movie having the Black Eyes Peas’ Boom Boom Pow or some such being used as R2-D2’s theme song, because they could save a few tens of thousands of dollars out of the $200,000,000 budget?

At current copyright limitations, why don’t we see more Edison recordings used in advertisements and movies?


That was my point. Recordings that old have nobody around that remembers them, but music from the 60s and later are attractive to advertisers because they trigger fond memories in baby boomers. Music from 5 years ago is pretty indistinguishable from today’s. Sure, Star Wars wouldn’t use a pop song from a few years ago, but Guardians of the Galaxy", Shrek and just about everything Martin Scorsese ever did has, so why shouldn’t those artists benefit.

Under your suggested model, Sixto Rodríguez (who was ripped off by his record company the first time around) would not be getting the benefit of his being rediscovered.
I think it’s completely fair that ESG and the Raincoats get some money from my last 2 purchases . Most people complaining about copyright seem to be a bunch of petulant babies who want everything for free.

Well, new music is also music that no one remembers, you haven’t even heard it yet. :slight_smile:

Point is, you can pick all the individual examples you want of artists that got ripped off or that could have made more money had copyright been extended one, two, five, ten … years. (Or not been reduced.)

But there are tens of thousands of artists who would lose nothing. In fact, they stand to gain… Some film maker without a budget to commission music finds just the right music in the public domain from the recent past, uses it in her film, people see the film, wonder where that haunting melody came from, check out the artist, who doesn’t happen to be dead, buys their latest album, PROFIT!

Again, this economist was looking at the BIG PICTURE of how best to have copyright benefit EVERYONE.

And remember, just because a work is out of copyright, doesn’t mean people wouldn’t necessarily pay for it.

For years Laurie Anderson had her music available on her website under three different prices. The standard 99 cents per track, a la Apple store; free; and “pay what you want” after listening to it. She also tracked what folks paid.

About one in six people chose free, but even then, the average amount people exchanged her songs for was $1.17, even more than the standard list price. So you can claim that those who complain about the length of copyright just want something for nothing, that doesn’t make it true.

No, the state of the music industry makes it true. Anyway this is largely irrelevant. Just type “full album” into YouTube and you’ll see how many people are getting their music free without wait fifty years.

Aside from the fact that many people use youtube to sample a low quality version of an album in order to decide whether or not they want to actually purchase it, extending copyright for longer and longer solves this “problem” how?