Men at work och den fantastiska upphovsrätten
2010/07/07 8 kommentarer
Den australiska bandet Men At Work har dömts att betala fem procent av alla intäkter från 2002 och framåt för låten ”Down under” från 1983 till ett rättighetsbolag, skriver BBC News. Orsaken är att ett flöjtriff i låten har dömts vara plagierat från barnsången ”Kookaburra bor i ett gummiträd”. Men At Work hade stämts av bolaget Larrikin Music, som köpte rättigheterna till ”Kookaburra” när kompositören Marion Sinclair avled 1988.
Det är alltså inte ens kompositören eller hans släktingar som gett sig på Men at work, utan ett bolag som helt enkelt köpt upp rättigheterna. Det brukar påstås att upphovsrätten ska främja skapandet, men på vilket sätt främjas kreativiteten när musiker (Men at work) stäms av ett bolag vars enda uppgift verkar vara att samla på sig en upphovsrättsportfolio som de sen kan mjölka på pengar? Det står fler detaljer på BBC:s site:
Sinclair, an Australian teacher, wrote Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree more than 70 years ago. It has since been sung by generations of Australian school children.
Larrikin Music, which is owned by London’s Music Sales Group, bought the rights to the classic folk song in 1990, following Sinclair’s death in 1988.
Det här känns lite som ett parallellfall till Verve versus Rolling Stones (sida 100-101):
By caving in to the demands of overzealous copyright bozos, you could end up like the Verve, a popular British band that scored a major worldwide hit in 1997 with “Bittersweet Symphony.” The Verve negotiated a license to use a five-note sample from an orchestral version of one of the Rolling Stones’ lesser hits, “The Last Time,” and received clearance from Decca Records. After “Bittersweet Symphony” became a hit single, the group was sued by former Stones manager Allen Klein (who owns the copyrights to the band’s pre-1970 songs because of aggressive business practices). He claimed the Verve broke the agreement when they supposedly used a larger portion than was covered in the license, something the group vehemently disputed.
The Verve layered nearly fifty tracks of instrumentation, including novel string arrangements, to create a distinctly new song. In fact, the song’s signature swirling orchestral melody was recorded and arranged by the Verve; the sample from the instrumental record is largely buried under other tracks in the chorus. The band eventually settled out of court and handed over 100 percent of their songwriting royalties because it seemed cheaper than fighting for a egal ruling that might not end in their favor. As if things couldn’t have gotten worse, they were then sued by another old Rolling Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham. Klein went after the Verve for infringing on the songwriting copyright, which he owned, but Oldham possessed the copyright on the sampled sound recording.
They totally lost everything.
Not only couldn’t the Verve earn money from their biggest hit, they were stripped of control of their song. For instance, after the group refused Nike’s request to use “Bittersweet Symphony” in an ad, the shoe manufacturer aired the song after it purchased a license from Allen Klein. “The last thing in the world I wanted was for one of my songs to be used in a commercial,” the despondent lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft said. “I’m still sick about it.” In one final kick in the groin, “Bittersweet Symphony” was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Song category, which honors songwriters. Because the unfavorable settlement transferred the Verve’s copyright and songwriting credit to Klein and the Rolling Stones, the Grammy nomination went to “Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.”23 Ashcroft quipped that it was “the best song Jagger and Richards have written in twenty years.” He then suffered from a nervous breakdown and the group broke up.
Eller kanske historien bakom ”Happy birthday to you” (samma pdf, sidan 16):
Schoolteacher Mildred J. Hill and her sister Patty published the song’s melody in 1893 in their book Song Stories for the Kindergarten, calling it “Good Morning to All.” However, the Hill sisters didn’t compose the melody all on their own. There were numerous popular nineteenth-century songs that were substantially similar, including Horace Waters’s “Happy Greetings to All,” published in 1858. The Hill sisters’ tune is nearly identical to other songs, such as “Good Night to You All,” also from 1858; “A Happy New Year to All,” from 1875; and “A Happy Greeting to All,” published 1885. This commonality clearly suggests a freely borrowed melody (and title, and lyrics) that had been used and reworked throughout the century. Children liked the Hill sisters’ song so much that they began singing it at birthday parties, changing the words to “Happy Birthday to You” in a spontaneous form of lyrical parody that’s common in folk music.
It wasn’t until 1935 that the Hill sisters finally got around to registering a copyright on the melody and the new birthday lyrics, claiming both as their own. The years rolled on, and so did the lawsuits, of which there were many. Then, in 1988, Birch Tree Group, Ltd., sold “Happy Birthday to You” and its other assets to Warner Communications (which begat TimeWarner, which will one day give birth to OmniCorp, or a similarly named entity). The owners of Birch Tree told the Chicago Tribune that it was too timeconsuming for a smaller company to monitor the usage of “Happy Birthday to You” and that “a major music firm could better protect the copyright during its final 22 years.”4 It turns out TimeWarner hit the jackpot when the U.S. Congress added twenty more years of protection to existing copyrights. As a result, “Happy Birthday to You” won’t go into the public domain until 2030.
Sen kommer en lång lista på hur denna sång, vars melodi från början i praktiken var public domain och vars text var en remixad version av systrarnas egen, mjölkas på pengar genom att upphovsrättshavarna aggressivt attackerar alla som ens kommer på tanken att använda ”Happy birthday to you” utan tillstånd.
Dagens upphovsrätt är ett resultat av upphovsrättsindustrins girighet och kontrollbehov, inte någon omtanke om artisterna. Därför måste den förändras och anpassas till en verklighet där den nuvarande upphovsrätten gör allt mer skada snarare än nytta. Du har möjlighet att hjälpa till att göra detta möjligt.
Pingat på Intressant.