This last week, the record companies' campaign to get copyright in sound recordings extended from 50 to 95 years, which was kicked into touch a few months ago, got fresh impetus from the European internal markets commissioner. The leading edge of their argument was that non-writing performers such as Cliff Richard and Roger Daltrey would benefit from their labours in later life. The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property rejected this on the grounds that in reality the only people who would continue to benefit would be the record companies.
This morning I found a lovely Ben Webster/Joe Zawinul tune on an MP3 blog. It came from the album "Soul Mates". I found this on Emusic and bought the whole album. They made this record in 1963. Webster died 35 years ago, Zawinul just a couple of months back. If either of them were around I guess they would tell you that, the odd freak hit apart, they had never made much from record royalties.
Today I paid a few pounds to Emusic for this record. A small amount of that will get back to the copyright owners, who are the people who bought the company who bought the company who bought the company who paid for the making of this record 45 years ago. The main musicians are dead. The rest got paid by the day.
So who's getting my money?