The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17319   Message #167693
Posted By: lamarca
24-Jan-00 - 05:06 PM
Thread Name: Sonny Bono Copyright Extension
Subject: RE: Sonny Bono Copyright Extension
I am in the process of cataloging my collection of music books, and have noticed that some of them state "Copyright date Author's name" and others (the majority) state "Copyright date Publisher's name".

Am I understanding this correctly: In one case, the actual author/editor of the work holds the copyright, and in the other, the copyright is held by a corporation, the publishing company. What are the copyright terms/length for an author vs. a publisher?

When a song is written, who holds the copyright in most cases? The lyricist? The librettist (if the two are different people?) The recording company that releases the first recording of it? The performing artist who made that recording? The performing artist(s) who makes a commercial hit of it? The recording company who published the hit recording? The publisher of the sheet music?

The current confusion in copyright laws and whose property they are supposed to protect comes from the incredible complexity and number of folks with something to gain from an extension. It's my feeling that far too often, the intellectual property rights of a creator rank far below the commercial property rights of a corporation that takes the financial risk of publishing an artistic work. Extensions of copyright effectively protect the financial interests of corporations without doing much for the creator and his/her heirs.

The adult children and grandchildren of a brilliant songwriter have every bit as much right to expect an inheritance from their clever relative as Muffy, Cedric and George W. do from their more financially astute forbears - how much unearned wealth they're entitled to depends on how much of a socialist you are (and I'm still a knee-jerk socialist, myself...) I don't begrudge an author's widow and children from collecting royalties, but something seems rather skewed when 70 years later the third generation down OR an unrelated third party still claims "ownership" of something they had no hand in creating.

How is copyright related to patent law? What is the average term for a patent on an intellectual concept, invention, process, chemical compond, etc? How long may patents be extended? Is there a difference between the two types of protection of intellectual property, and if so, why? Okiemockingbird, you seem very knowledgable about this subject - are there any basic summaries about this that a curious layperson would understand?