Thursday, September 15, 2011

The NY Times Intellectual Property Beat: Rohter Needs to Brush Up

Although it's nice that the NY Times has been covering recent developments surrounding intellectual property laws in the musical world, hopefully their journalist Larry Rohter will find time to brush up on some basic principles.  At present, he evidently doesn't understand the distinction between the copyright that protects a musical composition and the copyright in a sound recording.  In this recent article about Europe's extension of the sound recording copyright term, he writes that, if the current law were to remain on the books:
the Beatles’ first hit record, “Love Me Do,” which was released in 1962, could have been treated next year in much the same way as works by classical composers whose exclusive ownership of their music has expired.
This isn't true.  In most nations, copyright on the composition "Love Me Do" won't expire until decades after McCartney dies, and until then it will still be yielding performance and mechanical royalties, etc., so long as people keep playing and recording it.  Only the Beatles's debut recording was set to lose its copyright protection.

And of course, the copyright in "Love Me Do" is owned by EMI, whose parent company, Citigroup, as previously noted here, is in deep financial doo-doo...

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