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Afternoon Delight: Know Your Copyright Law

by Jerome Weeks 14 Sep 2011 12:59 PM

The European Union just changed its music copyright, making it more like America’s: It’s the life of the artist, plus 70 years. You may support copyright for all the right reasons, but according to one study, the extensions benefit corporations far more than any individual artist. Let C. G. P. Grey explain — in this lively, clever video.


Afternoon Delight is a daily diversion for when you’re just back from lunch, but not quite ready to get back to work. Check back tomorrow at 1 p.m. for another one.
With the announcement this week that the European Union has extended music copyrights to the lifetime of the author plus 70 years (thus, um, copying the American 1998 copyright extension), we thought we’d post this lively guide to intellectual property laws — with a few provisos and caveats.

As a writer, I’m a big supporter of copyright. But I’m well aware that it’s abused by giant conglomerates, much like the US patent system is used by companies and lawyers to prevent innovation, not protect it. And this particular video is primarily an argument against copyright. When one uses only such needy artists as the Disney Corporation and Lucasfilm as the examples, it’s hard to see much value in copyright beyond giving companies a license to hoard. The implication here is that copyright should be done away with — not amended or improved.

But we’ve enjoyed C. G. P. Grey’s videos (we posted his entertaining paean to coffee), and this is an undeniably clever intro to the topic and its historic background. The man knows how to make instructional videos.