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Journal of nicholas (3034)

Friday April 25, 2008
05:45 AM

What a nice business model; shame if anything happened to it

[ #36243 ]

I had a further little thought about that Flash contraption that would like to sell you sound clips for £1·50. Notably, be you alive, dead or zombie, mechanical copyright in the UK is still only 50 years, which means that most of the Goon Show (1951-1960) is now out of copyright. Oops.

Except, not being a lawyer but sometimes being a reasonably good pedant with a twisted defensive mind, I've no idea whether:

  1. to take advantage of this you would need to find a recording that is at least 50 years old
  2. or even more tightly, a recording that was legally made 50 years ago
  3. and whether there would still be other royalties owing for the authorship rights on the scripts (and similarly for the rights due to the songwriters of the music)

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  • To the best of my knowledge recordings have to have been officially published over 50 years ago for them to be out of copyright. Anything that may have been written before being published is a grey area, as technically it falls under copyright law, but it can be difficult to prove exactly when it was written.

    Certainly in the music industry it used to be recommended that writers record their work on paper (or other media), seal it and lock it in a bank, independently witnessed. Thus if there was ever a clai

    • Further reading of UK Copyright Law [], would seem that the actual recording falls out of copyright after 50 years, but the authorship of the work survives for 70 years after the death of the last known author.

      So you can play a broadcast of an original show recording without incurring any costs, but in order to perform it yourself you would need to pay Spike's estate (or whoever is credited as writer) for at least 2072. So we'll have to wait awhile for a version ;)