Monday, August 29, 2011

Conyers and Copyright...

Congressman John Conyers wants to revise the 1976 copyright act to clarify whether recording artists can reclaim the rights to their songs from record companies.  Conyers's record on intellectual property issues doesn't inspire confidence—he's against open access for scholarship and he sponsored the Performance Rights Act even though small African-American radio stations opposed it because they feared not being able to pay performance royalties to musicians.

In general, Conyers's heart is in the right place.  Motown Records, which started out in Detroit—Conyers's electoral district—depended for its early success on many brilliant musicians who never reaped financial rewards commensurate with their creative contributions.  But unfortunately he seems inclined to solve problems with intellectual property laws by advocating more copyright regulation, which isn't necessarily what's needed these days.

Here's Motown's Marvin Gaye live in concert (with James Jamerson on bass):

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