Cliff\’s Law

An abomination that should be taken out and shot. Along with those that passed it.

The ruling, dubbed \”Cliff\’s Law\” after the veteran pop star waged a long-running campaign to have the copyright period extended, will prevent his material from the 1960s from falling out of copyright. Some earlier recordings that have fallen out of copyright will move back under its protection.

Musicians ranging from Dame Shirley Bassey, The Who\’s Roger Daltry and Jools Holland welcomed the ruling, alongside contemporary artists like Paloma Faith, who hailed its ramifications for performers\’ long-term prospects.

This is about copyright upon sound recordings, not on the compositions themselves. Songs themselves are copyright until 70 years after the death of the author.

The sound recordings though, the actual performance of the song, was copyright for 50 years only. So now we\’ve just retrospectively changed contract law. Such retrospective changes are not a good idea, only to be done in the face of evidence of massive injustice.

And, let\’s now be honest, who really thinks that anyone at all was put off making a record in 1961 by the thought that copyright on that single would run out in 2011 rather than 2031?

Quite, this is an abomination.

What really, truly, sticks in the craw though is that Harry Rodger Webb made a number of recordings in the relevant time period with a variety of musicians, including the Shadows etc.

Harry Rodger Webb receives the copyright payments on those sound recordings. The other musicians receive nothing.

Agreed, that\’s what they contractually agreed to and that\’s just fine with me. But me, I\’d call someone who insists on the law changing to serve his own income while not extending that change to those he worked with, well, I\’d call them a scumbag.

4 thoughts on “Cliff\’s Law”

  1. Frank, it’s the residuals they’re after, not hew sales. Some radio station, somewhere, is playing Living Doll, and Cliff is getting a little ka-ching in the cash register every time.

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