Ireland’s favourite EU commissioner Charlie McCreevy is responsible for the proposal to extend EU copyright law by 45 years under the proviso of helping ’struggling session players’ to earn money when they’re old. The proposal has now passed the commission and is on the way to the parliament. What does this really mean?
Well, extending copyright under the noble cause of helping “thousands of anonymous session musicians who contributed to sound recordings in the late fifties and sixties” as McCreevy puts it, also allows record labels to live off these artists for another 45 years while simultaneously extending the barrier that legally allows creativity in the form of sampling and collage-based works. In the US, a similar law has already been passed but “fair use” can still be used as a defense for artists despite its many flaws. Think of artists like Girl Talk who would use this doctrine, if they were ever legally threatened. In the EU, we have no such provision.
Copyright law and movements like Creative Commons are something I’ve been interested in for a few years. I’m working on an article for State at the moment which talks to Girl Talk, Steinski and their label Illegal Art about copyright and sample-based works. Stay tuned.
See the reports on TorrentFreak about McCreevey’s proposal.