Paul McCartney’s Greed
McCartney cries ‘Help!’ on Beatles�song copyrights – Dec. 7, 2006 Paul McCartney is putting a full court press on the British PR machine to try and sway public opinion to extend copyright in Great Britain beyond 50 years. At risk for him are the earliest of Beatles songs which could fall into the public domain if not extended by 2012 – 2013.
As if Paul McCartney has not made enough money in his lifetime.
The purpose of copyright is to encourage people to create art because they might be protected with a limited period of time with which to exclusively profit from that art. 50 years is enough. In fact it should be a lot shorter.
These days especially, art is becoming more and more an act of recycling and reinterpreting previous art. In the remix culture brand new fantastic things are created by a new breed of artist that is all of a sudden making brand new art out of things. And these people are being sued by the likes of Paul McCartney and the big music machine.
The Beastles have done a number of fantastic Beastie Boy / Beatles mashups. They have created something new and fresh and interesting and alive. They have created art. And yet while Paul McCartney and the Beastie Boys can profit off of their art, the Beastles cannot profit beyond their art except to the extent that maybe it builds some noteriety for them and results in other things.
But the question is, is it better to put more pounds in Paul McCartney’s already overflowing coffers, or is it better to open up the music to all of us after 50 years and to give new and interesting and emerging artists the ability to take that old sound and turn it into something new for us.
An artist does not need to be protected beyond 50 years at the cost of what is in the overall interest for new artists and all of us who might enjoy new versions of that content everywhere.