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back to article Bob Dylan's new album is 'Copyright Extension Collection'

Europe's decision to extend copyright on music recordings from 50 to 70 years has just produced a curiosity: a four-disk compilation of Bob Dylan tunes that publisher Sony Music has come right out and called “The Copyright Extension Collection”. The new laws were introduced in September 2011 and became known as “Cliff's Law”, as …

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Like to know what Dylan thinks

A Dylan fan, yes, but I am interested rather than excited. I would be much more interested in what the man himself says about this opportunistic release of material that either he or the record company did not see fit to release previously.

And "careful curation"?.... Cough! Splutter!

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Meh

Well

Opportunistic fleecing by a record company, I bet Dylan only gets pennies from it anyway. As to the 'new material' there is usually a reason why it was never included in the original albums.

Usually the artist thought it was crap and didn't want to publish it.

'New material' albums are a record company scam to fleece the idiots who don't see it for what it is.

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@LarsG: Re: Well

"Opportunistic fleecing by a record company,...As to the 'new material' there is usually a reason why it was never included in the original albums."

There seem to be sound legal reasons for this release, anyway. And how many of these collections of releases with material from the vaults don't have the approval of the artist, anyway? Probably not too many. Moreover, you seriously underestimate the market among an artist's fans for, and their interest in, unreleased, rare, and uncollected recordings.

"I bet Dylan only gets pennies from it anyway..."

You are certainly wrong. If you think that Dylan, after decades of success in the record industry, has never had the power to negotiate or renegotiate very advantageous royalty rates both within the term of an existing recording contract, and especially when negotiating a new contract after an existing contract has, or is about to, expire, then you know even less about how the record industry works than your post suggests. It is very probable that Dylan received a very high percentage of the retail price of each cd set sold, making that potentially hundreds of dollars for each set sold.

So, uh, what else don't you know about the record industry?

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@PhilipN: What Dylan thinks

" I would be much more interested in what the man himself says about this opportunistic release of material that either he or the record company did not see fit to release previously."

He approves. Trust me on this: if he or his heirs (i.e. kids and family in general) gets to retain legal ownership of his work for an extra twenty years because this collection is released, then he heartily approves. Be certain of it. And even if he does think that the unreleased material is far from being his best, he wants to retain ownership of it for as long as possible all the same. How bad would these unreleased tracks have to be for him to both disavow them, and want to lose legal his legal rights to them? Probably worse than it is possible for them to be. (And I am no Dylan fan, believe me.)

And what makes you think that he doesn't have final say and approval over what material of his is released? Bob Dylan is not some green neophyte who has to sign whatever piece of paper the record company's lawyers put in front of him, both in regard to his contracts with whatever record company with which he is signed, and permissions for the release of anything with his name on it or on which he performed. As an extremely high-profile artist for decades, he - in the company of an army of lawyers - has approached every contractual negotiation from a position of strength and the terms of his contract surely reflect that.

And really, a fan who would pay $1000 for an item like this doesn't really care about the quality of the new tracks; such a fan wants every possible edition of everything that the artist has ever released and the rarer the better. And there are plenty of fans who will think that this is a highly exclusive - and so, highly desirable - item.

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Re: @PhilipN: What Dylan thinks

It might be selling for $1000 a copy, but it'll appear on a torrent site soon enough

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Re: @LarsG: Well

Maybe Bob Dylan signed a lousy contract when he was 15 and is still bound by it; I don't know. Is he rich? Music industry practice is catch 'em when they're young and probably also stoned. There's a long list of suckers, including many famous names.

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@LarsG Usually the artist thought it was crap and didn't want to publish it.

I thought that was more a record company thing. An artist records something they think is good, not the same as their old stuff but pushing in a new direction. The record execs think the target demographic would be bigger if the songs were poppier, more radio friendly and more like the old stuff so tell the artist to produce something else...

Of course these days record companies don't have the control they used to have, but when they were the only way of getting your music out they had a lot more power.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @PhilipN: What Dylan thinks

I bet you're wrong, i.e. if it has been released, it HAS appeared on torrents already. And both clientele segments are satisfied. Those who'd pay any price, and those who'd pay no price. But I bet Sony will be lamenting about loosing a fortune, when (not if) they quickly multiple their asking price by the number of torrent downloads :)

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Unhappy

Re: @LarsG: Well

> Is he rich?

He effing better be. He charged me over £60 a ticket to see him mumble his way through some tunes while hiding behind a keyboard and large hat, in Bournemouth last year.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC @PhilipN: What Dylan thinks

You can't possibly know that those people won't pay anything. All you know is that those people won't pay anything so long as free torrents are available.

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Happy

Re: Like to know what Dylan thinks

The 'careful curation" comment got me to thinking of Self Portrait. This was a double album put out by Dylan himself (still under the Columbia label). It has fascinatingly hideous cover art (as painted by Bob hisownself, putting to rest the rumors that he did the cover art work for The Band's album Music From Big Pink; he obviously did. Eh, it also put to rest the fact that he wrote 'Quinn, The Eskimo'). When Self Portrait came out, many, if not most, critics derided it for being one of the worst albums ever recorded (although quite a few acknowledged that Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music still held the title of absolute worst). Me, I liked the album. A lot. It has the old Revolutionary song 'Copper Kettle' which I adore (Spotify has it). Then again, it has Bob forgetting words to his own songs and the truly twisted cover of Paul Simon's 'The Boxer', which is the only time Dylan ever double-tracked his voice. Thankfully, the only time. Still, I love this album. Then again, I thought when it first came out that the Yoko side of Live Peace Toronto 1969 was the future of rock'n'roll. I think I was actually right, too.

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Curiously...

A recent ten-CD release from BB King back in September, too...

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WTF?

No problem, my record supplier PirateBay has them up already

Seventy years is far too long, the copyright should cease when the author/artist dies.

I only buy really good stuff, on CD's or vinyl yet, and after I have checked it on download - too much Tosh put out by the recording companies.

As for Cliff Richards stuff, many far better artists out there. I liked Francis (Frank) Edward Ifield whose now 75 years old.

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Re: No problem, my record supplier PirateBay has them up already

Outside of amateur production, almost all music is created as a work for hire. Copyright belongs to the publisher, not the individual artist.

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Re: Copyright should cease when you die

Even if you die young and leave a wife and small children?

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Happy

Re: Copyright should cease when you die

Especially then...

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@JaitcH: When you die...

"Seventy years is far too long, the copyright should cease when the author/artist dies."

Yeah, provided that all your property is forfeited and given to anyone who wants to take it when you die.

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Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

No-one cares turtle.

By the time you die you will be _happy_ that anyone still wants your stuff.

Better make the dosh way before.

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Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

As long as my property continues to pay me long after its creation, who cares what happens to it after I die?

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Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

Not property - Copyright. There is a difference. No one is suggesting that an artist has to release all the money and property gained through a lifetime of work. Only that the artist ceases to earn money after they are dead.

How would you like it you couldn't earn money after you dead?*

*sarcasm.

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Re: provided that all your property is forfeited [...] when you die

Fine by me, as long we're just talking about property that is itself 70 years old.

The value of real property depreciates. After 70 years it is generally worthless. The only physical items I still possess that I acquired more than 30 years ago are all materially worthless. I keep them because they have sentimental value, so in fact they are probably "intellectual property".

Intellectual property should depreciate in a similar fashion. 70 years is too long and there should be some distinction drawn between IP that is new, 20 or 40 years old.

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Re: provided that all your property is forfeited [...] when you die

I'm guessing you don't own a house?

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FAIL

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

In many cultures worldwide, the deceased's belongings are thrown on their funeral pyre. And if you want to give stuff away, you do it while you are alive.

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Alert

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

"Seventy years is far too long, the copyright should cease when the author/artist dies."

Yeah, provided that all your property is forfeited and given to anyone who wants to take it when you die.

Copyright (misleading name) is not a natural right --- it's a privilege that the state grants to encourage artists to put more stuff into the public domain in the long term, by restricting everyone else's natural right (to make copies). The state does not have to grant copyrights at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

Could you explain why it's a natural right to make copies of something, but not a natural right to not have people copy your work?

I'm genuinely curious as to how one is natural (and presumably, therefore obvious) and the other isn't?

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Holmes

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

Could you explain why it's a natural right to make copies of something...

Simple - If the government didn't exist, anyone would still be able to make copies of what you did (e.g. you invent a wheel - suddenly everyone is copying it - that's called human progress) - whereas making people not copy requires a government (or sizable militia that agrees with you) to enforce it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

"Could you explain why it's a natural right to make copies of something...

Simple - If the government didn't exist, anyone would still be able to make copies of what you did (e.g. you invent a wheel - suddenly everyone is copying it - that's called human progress) - whereas making people not copy requires a government (or sizable militia that agrees with you) to enforce it."

Okay, and can you explain how that explanation is relevant to audio recordings of Bob Dylan songs?

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Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

Write a few songs and live off the royalties for 70 years.

Clean toilets everyday for minimum wage and be lucky to live that long.

There is something seriously wrong here

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Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

Umm... I think I explained why it's pretty much relevant to everything that can be copied or recorded.

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Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

Even better.

Live off dead dad's royalties and pay someone minimum wage to clean your toilet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

So what you're saying is that without copyright there is no incentive to innovate - Why would you spend your own money developing something, if everyone was allowed to copy it.

The basic upshot is that, by your argument, we need copyright to have and sort of design based industry, be that engineering or creative arts.

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Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

A lot of Dylan's lyrics are from the romantic poets - if we had perpertual copyright back then he wouldn't have been able to rip off Keats, Shelley etc. And Disney wouldn't have been able to raid H C Anderson

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Re: The value of real property ... after 70 years is generally worthless

Strange, that's not the impression I get looking at the Antiques Roadshow on TV...

I have a fair few posessions over 70 years old, books and musical instruments for example, and they are most certainly not worthless because of their age. In some cases quite the opposite actually.

But the whole argument is logically false. If the old music were valueless there would be no argument, but of course its not.

All this is about is big advertising wanting all the money for themselves, with plenty of useful idiots drinking their kool-aid. (about time I got a few mre downvotes)

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Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

What you said.

Also, we need to give serious consideration to the question of whether granting content producers a temporary monopoly over their creations is really the best way to encourage innovation in modern times? Back when printing presses were big, unwieldy things and printing unauthorised copies of material would have seemed a good way of supplementing the return on one's investment, it might have made sense. Today, with the means of producing and distributing copies of material almost universally accessible, I am not so sure it is the best way to achieve the intended objective.

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FAIL

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

Simple - If the government didn't exist, anyone would still be able to kill you (e.g. you piss someone off, suddenly everyone wants to lynch you - that's called human nature) - whereas making people not kill you requires a government (or sizable militia that agrees with you) to enforce it.

Twisted pirate logic means the right to life is no longer a natural right. So long as you can have music without paying who cares, right?

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Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

Oh dear. Well I know I'm not supposed to feed you guys but...

Life evolved without the need for copyright protection or government intervention so how exactly are you denied the right to live?

Governments by their nature take away rights and freedoms to grant security and redistributed wealth. Governments don't grant rights, they recognise them - certain rights depending on their political motivations (even then they may not choose to respect them).

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Re: The value of real property ... after 70 years is generally worthless

"Strange, that's not the impression I get looking at the Antiques Roadshow on TV..."

I think that rather proves my point. The proportion of what was created N years ago that physically survives to the present day is *miniscule* and that (for some) gives it a rarity value. (To be honest, most of the stuff on Antiques Roadshow is worthless, mind. Kudos to those who can convince mugs to shell out dosh for it.) The point is that physical property degrades (at some rate) and the value of the property right degrades with it, so perhaps IP should fade away as well.

At present, the "lifetime" of IP seems to be advancing by a decade or two every decade or to, in response to lobbying by people who didn't create it. We need some notion of IP rights, since society is increasingly vesting economic value in non-physical artefacts, but the current direction seems to be for Disney and friends to own everything and that isn't something that the general public can support forever.

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Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

You might want to check your sarcasm meter. I was not seriously suggesting that infringing somebody's copyright is denying them the right to life.

Everyone has the natural right to ownership of their creations, even when they are intangible. Governments recognise this right through the legal right of copyright.

I await your post telling me that copyright is not a human right, despite that not being what I said.

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Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

"Simple - If the government didn't exist, anyone would still be able to make copies of what you did (e.g. you invent a wheel - suddenly everyone is copying it - that's called human progress) - whereas making people not copy requires a government (or sizable militia that agrees with you) to enforce it."

You seem to ignore the fact, that making the wheel would actually require quite a lot of craftmanship, raw materials and tools.

So the people who have dedicated most of their lives to learning the required skills, learned to make the tools and gather the materials should just make free wheels for everyone? Hoorray! Free wheels!

The idea of a wheel: free.

The work of making an actual wheel: not automatically free

And further:

A song: free (at least after some reasonable period of time)

The work of recording or performing a song: not automatically free

Note the word automatically. The works can be free, if the person making them so wishes. But you should not be able to force someone else to work for free. That's called slavery.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

"A lot of Dylan's lyrics are from the romantic poets - if we had perpertual copyright back then he wouldn't have been able to rip off Keats, Shelley etc. And Disney wouldn't have been able to raid H C Anderson"

No "a lot of Dylan's lyrics" aren't from romantic poets, that's just bollocks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

"Even better.

Live off dead dad's royalties and pay someone minimum wage to clean your toilet."

You think there should be no inheritance whatsoever from parent to child? Or is it only royalties which shouldn't be inherited? And you think all jobs should pay the same? Interesting ideas. Not sure I agree with you.

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Holmes

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

That's a little bit of a straw man response to my argument, considering that we were discussing the act of copying, not the act of stealing.

If we are to take the analogy in the direction you suggest:

- You crafting a wheel out of some wood and stone you found = Not free, it's yours.

- Me watching how you did it crafting a wheel out of some wood and stone I found (copying you) = Not free, it's mine.

- Me crafting a machine that can skip all that hard work and spit out 100 wheels per 1 wheel you make with all that hard work = not free, mine + progress and innovation.

It's progress and innovation that copyright by it's nature, tries to limit and slow down. Of course, when we're talking about inventing wheels we may as well be talking about patents, but it's an analogy describing the same effect when we apply it to the internet, digital files, second-hand sales, mash-ups, cover performance etc...

Tell me, where would be the incentive for me to invent the wheel crafting machine if I was informed beforehand that you 'owned' the idea of the wheel and therefore I'd have to pay you every time I wanted to use my machine?

Since we're imagining there being no government - there's no one to tell me but you - and I'm going to laugh and say how can you own something that I made?

I doubt human progress would have come as far as it did if the idea of "intellectual property" had existed from the beginning.

So how do you now make money on your wheel?

Well, chances are you really made the wheel because you felt passionate about wheels and it was really useful to you. It's only when other people saw the value of copying it that you started thinking about it's value. However some people may also find the value in purchasing an authentic wheel hand-crafted by you - the original wheel creator - there will always be a market for that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

Shot yourself in the foot there actually.

If I write and record a song (which costs me money to do) and have that recording, and you make a copy of that recording, you've not watched how I made the recording. and copied my method at all. You've not replicated the time and effort and money I put into creating the audio recording. You've just leeched off my endeavour, for your personal benefit, without putting in the effort I did. If you'd copied my method, and made your own recording of the tune, fair play. But you didn't.

So your own analogy doesn't stand up.

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Mushroom

Re: @JaitcH: When you die...

"Simple - If the government didn't exist, anyone would still be able to make copies of what you did (e.g. you invent a wheel - suddenly everyone is copying it - that's called human progress) - whereas making people not copy requires a government (or sizable militia that agrees with you) to enforce it."

This "natural right" bullshit is really making my blood boil.

According to this twisted and sinister logic nothing is enforceable without a militia. Nothing. NOT EVEN BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS! So bringing this idiotic argument to a discussion about copyright is absolutely retarded and only harms the cause.

As someone who has dedicated a large part of their life to fight against things like conscription, forced labour and draconian copyright laws I find it truly appalling that you would use an argument like that, and actually think you are making a valid point for a just cause.

Sheesh. Every 15 year old who has somehow managed to crawl half way through of 'Days of War, Nights of Love' (and still completely missing the point!) now think they are making the world a better place by nicking Snickers bars from supermarkets and torrenting music. Some revolution that is. Spoiled brats.

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Seriously.

Anyone not torrenting this?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seriously.

Actually, you're in luck. :) Just check out the "usual sources". ;)

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Re: Seriously.

Me. Tedious nasal whining I do myself.

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Happy

It's Cliff's fault

Personally, I think it's Cliff's fault - he is the real world equivilent of Johnny Saveloy, and had he been mortal would have keeled over years ago and this copyright problem would not have needed solving.

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Unhappy

Judas!

Seems the historically appropriate thing to shout at Dylan (and yes, I guess he might not have had any influence on this decision, be her doesn't seem to have publicly condemned it either).

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