Wond’ring aloud….

…Will the years treat us well?…

From Wond’ring Aloud Composed by Ian Anderson, performed by Jethro Tull

Doesn’t sound like the years are treating the composer, one of my favourite flautists, well. Despite the fact that I bought most of the Jethro Tull albums on vinyl, then again on CD, and sometimes yet again on 25th Anniversary or 30th Anniversary special rip-me-off editions I couldn’t resist. But I shall desist from commenting further on that. For now. Gotta go take the tablets….

I was reading the FT today, after a few days away, and came across an article by Ian Anderson. Yes, you have me there, I’m not just a DeadHead but a Tull fan as well. So much so that many years ago, when I first came to the UK and happened to go to Preston, I just had to go stand on Preston Platform, do my Cheap Day Return bit.

Ian is amongst a growing band of musicians and artists and poets and novelists coming to the realisation that a 50-year copyright law meant something they hadn’t considered or expected: their creations going out of copyright during their lifetime….. Ian also argues that Europe being out of synch with the US places musicians here at a competitive disadvantage, suggesting that we should take the 50 and make it 95 like in the US. Why not 120 then, to keep in step with Mickey Mouse Act projections? Why not in perpetuity and be damned with any of the origins of copyright law?

Some of you may already have figured out that I don’t think much of current IPR regimes and regulations. I never realised that copyright tenure had anything to do with life expectancy. My bad.

An aside: The rule at Dead concerts was that you could tape whatever you wanted and give it away or trade it but not sell it. You even had rows “reserved” for people who wanted to tape the concerts. I use the term “reserved” loosely. Garcia and gang knew something.

So when I see articles like this one, I feel sad. Especially at a time when the Arctic Monkeys, Sandi Thom and Gnarls Barkley are all suggesting that things are changing in the music industry. Take a look at this site belonging to The Music Alliance, the amalgam of MCPS and PRS that collect and pay royalties to musicians. When I read what they say in the tab marked The Main Issue, it suggests to me that there’s a battle brewing between the MCPS/PRS (on one side) and (wait for it) The British Phonographic Industry and a consortium of Digital Service Providers and Mobile Network Operators on the other. Whoo-ey. Boy do things have to change.

And one of the things that has to change is IPR and DRM. I’m sure Ian Anderson wants to live in a world where he doesn’t have to pay the inventor of the seed drill royalties for “image and name use rights”. Three hundred years later.

Because that’s the kind of nonsense that will happen. If we let it.

I am tempted to end there with the last stanza from Wond’ring Aloud, a truly wondrous song…. So I will:

And it’s only the giving

That makes you what you are.

Let me know what you think

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