[Foundation-l] WMF/EFF and Copyright extension

Brian McNeil brian.mcneil at wikinewsie.org
Wed Feb 20 21:57:21 UTC 2008

daniwo59 at aol.com wrote:
In a message dated 2/20/2008 4:05:54 PM Eastern Standard Time,  
brian.mcneil at wikinewsie.org writes:

Composer's have life+95 (IIRC) which means that ELP and the like won't  be
appearing on WMF servers anytime soon (I met Greg Lake in London a few
back, so he's still around). Where this impacts the foundation is  stuff
late 19th century and the composer is long dead. A performance  recorded in
the 50s or 60s of the work would be impacted, in some cases  it'd be
withdrawn from the public domain.

My point was more on ELP's adaptation of works. For instance, ELP's
at an Exhibition came out in 1971. Mussorgsky wrote it in 1874, so it  would

have made the mark, however, it was only first published (by
in 1886.  Would ELP, by recording the piece, potentially  have been

You've hit on a good case there, I assume Mussorgsky died more than 95 years
ago, so the composer's copyright has expired. In fact, it'd likely expired
by the time ELP recorded the stuff. Even if it hadn't, all you need to do is
get a "mechanical license" to allow you to do your own recording. So, much
to my surprise - and delight - there may be some ELP stuff could go on
Commons in the next few years if this measure is beaten.
I am also curious as to how this would impact songs like Vera Lynn's  
recording of "We'll Meet Again" (1939). Or more so, any classic recordings
of  "It's 
a Long Way to Tipperary" from World War I.

You need to look up who wrote these songs, and when they died. You can, with
a fair degree of certainty, say that anything written during the 20th
century won't be available to us. If it was written more than a hundred
years ago you're starting to look at it being available to us in the near
future, but that's where the performer's (c) comes in and the proposed
legislation impacts us.
Just wondering--the implications go far beyond Cliff Richard's pension

I've found a source online that described this as the "Beatles copyright
extension act", yet none of their material would fall into the public
domain. If memory serves correctly the vast majority of their songs were
credited Lennon/McCartney. The latter is still alive and going through a
messy divorce. Were he to drop dead tomorrow we'd have another 95 years to
wait before the material fell into the public domain. On the other hand, and
the issue the Commission is trying to deal with, Ringo and George will soon
stop receiving their royalties as the performer copyright will expire.

What really pisses me off is that the rest of us are expected to budget from
our income for our retirement. This is a select group where the government
(or rather, EU) is mandating that the public at large have to pay their
pension for them by altering the law. It is a notable change to a contract
between government and public that is not in the public's favour. The only
people who will significantly benefit are the major labels who have bought
up performer's rights by contract deals and the like.

I've made a start for a Wikinews article on this here,

I'm going along to this meeting on Friday to ask how can WMF support them
and similar questions, I'm taking a fellow Wikinewsie along so I don't have
to say "Now I'm a journalist", "Now I'm ComCom". Input on questions to put
to Erik would be most welcome. Don't worry about messing up the formatting
on the article, someone will sort it out.

Brian McNeil

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