Sunday, December 18, 2011

Copyright Obama and YouTube and free speech

YouTube, Twitter and dancing Schools are in danger of ten years prison under new copyright rules that are in the process of being passed by the USA Congress.

This is not a joke. If this law passes it will mean that any infringement of copyright by a single YouTube user could mean the whole website can be legally taken down. The USA authorities do not have to give any reason they can just remove the website and there is nothing anyone can do. The wrong doer will face up to ten years in prison.

Up until now YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have been protected from its users' copyright infringements but the Obama administration is against this. Many think this legislation is the greatest threat to free speech in present times.

Even the Library of USA is against this Bill. As it stands Audio Archiving is at a stand still as it is virtually impossible not to break some sort of copyright law. Ditto with scanning books which are in danger of disintegration because of the Brittle Book Syndrome although some progress is being made in that direction.

All to protect the Big Content Users who are persuasive lobbyists and the only group to benefit from this legislation which will stifle progress and hamper archiving for future generations. Already our computers are being monitored for shared files. You probably do not notice this but any person who uploads videos  to YouTube as I do will be aware of the copyright notice infringement that arrives with threats even if the composer is Mozart.

Copyright legislation is a mess. Some copyrights on work created 177 years ago will still remain in copyright until 2067. Also it means if you sing a song or your child dances to a copyright song on YouTube you could spent the next ten years in prison.

I have been a victim of artistic vandalism when Boosey & Hawkes had the tapes of the 1959 production of Britten's Turn of the Screw destroyed. I should like to upload September by Richard Strauss but cannot arrange a license even for ready money. This sort of negative activity only serves the publishers and not the artist. Fortunately R Strauss is out of copyright on 8 September 2019. I can wait.

This is a sad day for the creative artist and amateur performer. Today Shakespeare could not function under these restrictions. If today's conditions were in force Britten would not have been able to write any of his operas as they are based on previous creations. For many artists their work will be lost through lack of archiving.

I decided last year that from now on I should only sing and work on composers that are definitely out of copyright as it is the only safe way. I am in the happy position of being to do everything myself but this is limiting and I suspect I am one of the few if not the only one who can do it all myself. I am now limited to works written before 1923 which is sad because I sing 1930's music well.

YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are now under threat. Anything that the Big Content Users and the USA government do not like and they will go. Please oppose this Bill.

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