Wash my damn car already!
Copyright is supposedly a limited monopoly on distribution of a given work granted by the public in return for the owner's courtesy of sharing their work. This was meant to encourage creators to share their work widely, as it would enrich the public domain when the clock ran out on the limited monopoly.
However, copyright terms have been getting longer and longer. Since the moment distribution of recorded music became commercially possible, new works have stopped entering the public domain.
Add this to the fact that the RIAA does do an incredible job of promoting their own music, but doesn't do such a good job of making it clear that their music is used with permission. Usually the use of music in a movie is mentioned late in the credits, when most of the audience has wandered out. Listening to the radio spew out song after song at no cost to me other than the time spent dealing with (listening to or avoiding) commercials, I hear no legal notices explaining that the songs were used with permission from the relevant parties. Stations have to pause periodically for identification. Perhaps it would clarify to the general public that the music is used with permission if they would pause from time to time in a similar manner to explain whose permission allowed them to play such music and to remind the public that the music is a tightly controlled resource.
When you see a trademark used in print, there's a little symbol used to explain to people that the symbol in question is, indeed, trademarked. The fact that copyrighted works require no similar annotation allows the RIAA to dangle their music in front of our noses before slapping us the minute we start to believe that they're actually giving it to us for free.
All of this has lead to a public which doesn't understand why the radio can redistribute music, but we the people cannot. The situation also leads me to believe that the public is attempting to get a refund for the time-limited monopoly it has granted.
To put it in real-world terms, if I agree to let you borrow my car for a few hours in exchange for you washing it for me, that is a reasonable deal. You have exclusive possession of my car, but I benefit in the end.
However, if you were to try to extend the term beyond hours to days or even weeks without offering me significantly more benefit, I'd definitely reconsider the arrangement.
The RIAA hasn't brought the car back yet, and Congress keeps telling them that they can extend the joyride longer and longer. Decades beyond the death of the creator is too long, and the public is saying that the RIAA needs to wash the damned car and bring it back to the public with whom it belongs.
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