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Copyright Life Sentence pt deux

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2066 is the year John Fogerty’s CCR songs go into the public domain (unless Disney extends copyright terms again). Born in 1946, Fogerty will be able to perform his CCR songs (which he doesn’t own the copyright on) without paying a royalty to Fantasy Records if he lives to the age of 120.

You and I will probably never see “Louie Louie” referred to as “trad. arr. by …” in our lifetimes. And how suitable that Dave Marsh’s book on “Louie Louie” is out of print, because the story of the ownership of the song (and the “secret” lyrics) is at the core of this debate on public domain.

That puts some perspective on the recent copyright life sentence. Lawrence Lessig (NYTimes reg req) has a proposal about the 98 per cent of copyrights which don’t earn revenue, make the copyright holders pay to keep the copyright.

About Jim Carruthers