Thursday, 27 August 2009

What price art?

Imagine you went into a clothes store and bought a designer jacket..
..And when you get to the till they ask you what you are going to use it for...
"I want it for a play I'm staging..."
"Ahhhh" they say... "We have a special price for jackets for use in the theatre". .. And you need it so you reluctantly pay the extra....

Your play goes ahead and someone at the shop notices that a fine designer jacket is pretty central to the plot and pretty soon after you get a bill from the shop for a hefty wedge more. "But, I paid for the jacket you say" - " Yes, you did, but you never said it was important to the play. You can't use this jacket as an important prop unless you pay us more..."
"But we already paid extra to use it in the theatre.... We're not going to pay you again!"
"Oh yes you are... See you in court!"

You'd laugh wouldn't you? But right now a music company is suing Stockholm Stadsteater for using the "Sounds of Silence". the theatre have paid the performing rights fees they should - but since the music plays an important role in the play the rights owners want more.

To me it smacks of opportunistic exploitation... Wanting your cake and eating it. it's a symptom of the monopolistic rights granted under copyright law - and in this instance it's a leech sucking at the creativity of the playwrite and actors creating something new from something that really ought by now to be part of our shared cultural heritage.. (How many theatres get grants from the public purse to make ends meet?)

Copyright exists to encourage creativity... If that's not what it's doing it has no role today - at least not in it's current form.

No surprise then that Piratpartiet is working for copyright reform

No comments: