While I understand the logic behind the logic behind this article, I remain 100% against it's conclusions and recommendations.Â The copyright laws, not great but good enough, currently maintain a copyright for the life of the holder +70 years.Â There are many estates that now enjoy healthy residuals from materials whose author died in the middle of the last century.Â This may sound excessive to you, but it really isn't.Â Most of the great artists in history didn't become famous until long after their death.
Congress tried to gut the copyright act two years ago, but fortunately the bill didn't pass the House (it passed the corporation-friendly Senate, though) by declaring something an "orphan work" if a plagiarist couldn't find the copyright holder after a "good faith search."Â Since when has a corporation ever shown "good faith?"Â If you try to take them to court, when was the last time a judge recognized "good faith", much less exercised it in a ruling?Â I hold 5 copyrights on published work at the moment, and I will guarantee that nobody can find me -- I've move seven times since I obtained them through four states and two countries.
The orphan works act would have severely limited any damages due to a publisher taking someone's work and made money from it.Â The bill is not dead, just sleeping until the McGraw-Hill's of the world get their lobbying organized enough to buy enough votes in the House of Representatives.Free That Tenor Sax
For jazz fans, nothing could be more tantalizing than the excerpts made available by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem of newly discovered recordings from the 1930s and â€™40s. Nearly 1,000 discs containing performances by masters like Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Billie Holiday and the long-neglected Herschel Evans suddenly re-emerged when the son of the audio engineer, William Savory, sold them to the museum.
The museum is doing its best to clean up and digitize the recordings. But because of the way copyright laws work, excerpts may be all that fans can hear for some time. The museum paid for the discs, but cannot distribute the music until it has found a way to compensate the estates of the musicians, many of which may be very difficult to track down after all these decades. Hawkinsâ€™s saxophone solo on â€œBody and Soulâ€ may be reason enough for Congress to revisit this issue and free historical documents from excessive legal fetters.