Wendy Grossman on the strange situation in the UK: dead musicians signing petitions,
Last week's report from the Gowers review and its recommendation not to extend the term of copyright in sound recordings past the current 50 years predictably annoyed the record industry. A day later, Phonographic Performance Limited, the collection society for sound recordings, responded by taking out a full-page ad in the Financial Times listing 4,500 musicians whose signatures it collected protesting Gowers' recommendation.
Well, fair enough; if anyone has the right to talk about copyright in sound recordings it's musicians, without whom there would be nothing to talk about. That doesn't mean they should have the right to dictate policy, but probably few outside the business understand the extent to which any musician who stays in the business any length of time has been ripped off (by both professionals and amateurs), cheated, and otherwise buffeted by the “I love your music”s of life. Spend any time with them, and you'll run across a load of people who are determined that if they can ever get their rights back they're never going to lose control of them again.
It's just that some of the musicians signing the ad were…dead.
It's not a big deal. No one is alleging that the Gowers recommendations made them commit suicide or anything. They're just dead.
Bonus: Lessig is pretty funny about this too.