The Null Device
Alan McGee, founder of the Creation and Poptones labels, on why music copyright terms should not be extended:
One argument the industry used is that the revenue generated from back catalogues is what underpins record companies' ability to invest in new artists, so to close of this endless stream of cash would impoverish the quality of new music. This doesn't seem such an unreasonable point until you reflect that they have had fifty years to rake in billions from The Beatles. Also, the notion of the back catalogue acting as crutch to fund new talent seems to imply that more contemporary acts have brought home peanuts. This would be very sad indeed if it were anywhere near the truth.
In the case of early blues and country, the lapse of copyright has had numerous positive consequences. The songs being highly accessible and the constant repackaging and proliferation of different compilations has helped to keep interest alive and, if anything, spread the influence of some of the most important music of all time throughout the generation
More importantly, though: Why should the legacy of The Beatles be treated as some sacred cash cow and held at arm's length from those that gave and continue to give The Beatles their success - the fans? Without people's initial support and continuing identification with the music, The Beatles would be a long forgotten name.