Why copyright is bad for music (apparently)

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Record-Producer.com.

Wednesday May 26, 2010
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Is copyright good for music? We know that it's good for Paul McCartney, Elton John and Bono. They have all become filthy rich from music. But is it good for the wider world of music, including people who enjoy listening to music, and people who make music simply for fun?

Since we don't have the opportunity to look into a parallel universe where there is no copyright in music, we can't do anything but speculate about what would happen if there were suddenly no copyright in music. But we can look at a similar artistic industry where there is officially no copyright, and that is fashion.

In the USA at least, there is no copyright in the new range of evening wear you have spent the last six months creating. Clothing is considered utilitarian, and legally there can be no copyright in utilitarian items. So you spend six months creating and making your new range and show it on the runway. Photographs are taken, which speed to knock-off shops all around the world where your creations are copied and manufactured in bulk. Within days of your collection being shown, copies of your work are available to buy - legally - at a fraction of the price of an original.

Time for the video. Trust me - this is an interesting video all the way through and could have implications for the future of the music industry.

I could comment myself, but I don't want to pre-empt the discussion. I'll come back to this issue in another article in a couple of days.

However, I would point you to around 12.22 in the video. If you think that copyright in music is a good thing, there's something interesting that might change your mind. Or not.

Over to you... enjoy the video!

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