May I Steal Your Music…REALLY???

a little music

~ So apparently a musician dude (Sam Smith) has agreed to pay Tom Petty a hell of a lot of money for ripping off one of his songs. Have you ever thought about our copyright laws in the Western World when it comes to art, specifically music, and how they pretty much exist to help multi-millionaires?

Think about, how many struggling artists win zillions of dollars by suing other artists for stealing their work? I’ve had numerous articles that I’ve posted over the past two years entirely plagiarized and published on major NEWS sites….but what was I going to do? It’s not like I have the time and energy to sue people who steal my writings.

Yet, if you’re a multi-millionaire musician, then most likely you have a team of lawyers who are waiting in the fold to go sue crazy if your shit gets copied by another artist.

Now, look. It’s not that I hate millionaire musicians. I like Britney Spears as much as my good friend Jen Denevan in California does as well. However, shouldn’t there be a shorter lifespan on these copyrights?

How about this; if you write a song, or direct a film, or whatnot, then for five years nobody can steal or copy your work; but after that five years is up then it becomes public domain.

I mean lets be honest, does Jennifer Anniston really need to keep receiving money for her work in “Friends”? During the time it was on live, she was receiving a million dollars an episode! How much is enough? But then again, we know that all these musicians and actors and actresses who say they care about the poor; well, they are living next door to the 1% because THEY ARE THE 1%!


Categories: Culture & Society

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15 replies

  1. It isn’t always the artist that holds the copyrights sometimes or more often it is also the studio. And the make tons of money. It has been said true or not that a musician here in Holland only received 40 cents on the dollar when their song was sold on iTunes. The rest was for the studio and got knows what else

    • You’re right; it’s the record companies that are hiring the lawyers and filing suit. The musicians get a percentage, but it’s really very small.

  2. Most musicians/bands need the revenue from touring/merchandise to make a living. They get a pittance from the actual music. I have to say that if you create something, then yeah, you shouldn’t have to put up with people stealing/ripping it off.
    The fact is that it’s only those that already are rich that can afford to raise the court actions, and THAT is what’s wrong with the system.

    • should an artist get to keep the copyright for ever though? I mean, at a certain point doesn’t it seem ridiculous that artists can hold copyrights for 50 years? Even in electronics, it seems as though the copyrights exist for too long

    • Not really. It’s their creation. Once they die, then sure, public domain, but they shouldn’t be denied an income from their “product” because of an arbitrary time bar.

    • I feel like some things become apart of “americana’ or whatever the equivalent is for Europe and other places. So take for instance, Yankee Doodle Dandee or Row Row Row Your Boat, should the creators of those songs received money every time someone replayed them?

  3. I would differentiate between covering a song and ripping off a song.
    Ripping off (to me) is to write something that’s as close as dammit to someone elses song, that you have essentially just copied it.

  4. What about books? If you write a book, and say it becomes a best seller. Should someone else, after, I don’t know, five years, 10 years, 50 years, be able to take your book and essentially republish it and call it their own? Should I be able to take something Shakespeare wrote hundreds of years ago, put my name on it, and publish it as mine because the copyright expired?

    Or what if I ran across a self-published, little-read book that some blogger wrote five years ago. Maybe I change the title and the names of the key characters and even a few minor plot details. But, for all intents and purposes, it’s the work of another. If five years has passed since the actual author published his or her book, should I be able to publish it under my name, implying that I wrote it?

    When someone publishes a song, the lyrics and the music are written down and, just like a book, they’re copyrighted and published. Why shouldn’t that be protected just as book is?

  5. A few of things:
    1) People found in violation of copyright have to pay damages plus court costs. This helps the “little guy” when defending their copyrights.
    2) There are a number of provisions in US copyright that carve out exceptions, such as fair use.
    3) If copyright expires after only five years (as in your example), then the creator would lose exclusive rights to create derivative works. So the author wouldn’t get a dime if a screenwriter takes his book and they make a movie out of it.
    4) Copyright (in the US) is automatic. Under your system, would everyone be liable to register their work so as to keep track of the five year rule?
    5) Right now, copyright is life of the author +70 years. It’s a brightline rule that isn’t dependent on arguments on when things get published, renewals, or actual use. This protects both the creator and any inheritors. Otherwise, what would you consider published?

  6. LMAO….Kenneth – you were gunning for a beating today weren’t ya? Grrrr!!! For the record for future readers of this article…I can NOT stand Britney Spears….Kenneth just gets a kick out of harassing me about her. As for copyright…I think Mr Matthew Gomez makes some very good points. To me, yeah I would be inclined to think that some smaller amount of time would suffice but I also tend to not be so concerned with copyright as many of my work articles are always republished elsewhere along with my photos – just the nature of the Internet as it were. I agree there are still many ways for these artists to make plenty of money off of new published works without having to covet old work. I think you’re sort of touching base on the idea that these artists are somewhat selling out – that earning the money is worth more than having created art that means something to a lot of people. I tend to agree with that. Copyright…a crazy lil’ dealio.

  7. I think the copyright laws extend far beyond the incentive they are supposed to provide. How many artists are creative 70 years after they are dead? And I believe they do so, not to promote creative endeavor but to further fill corporate coffers. I many ways copyright laws prevent creative endeavor. An example would be the recent film, ‘Selma’, where the speeches of Martin Luther King could not be used as they were protected by copyright.

    • Carl, AWESOME point, see, i needed to think of that type of example this morning and i didn’t. I had heard of a lot of those type of examples in the past though and it always struck me that its time we revisit how we do copyright laws.

  8. Can’t sign on with this one, buddy. If you create something (music, book, etc) you should retain ownership of it and profit from it for as long as you’re able to. The old copyright laws used to be shorter like you’re suggesting which is partly joe McCartney lost his Beatles music to Michael Jackson. Now, I believe it extends for a decent amount of time after your death.

    I detest when somebody lifts the hook or a significant portion of a song and puts some trappings around it and says “check out my new song” with no nod or payment to the originator.

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