We'll Be Paying Forever - Radio World

We'll Be Paying Forever

The copyrighted songs may still be monopolized by their owners for another hundred years, give or take, thanks to our out-of-control copyright law.
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Great article by Tom Vernon on the 30th anniversary of the CD's debut ("From Pinkeltje to Ubiquity," May 20). The CD is a terrific consumer electronics product that's been wildly successful.

I know there were many patents over many years related to CD technology, but I picked the years 1976–1982 to do a quick search for ones assigned to Philips. I found seven. All of them are expired now.

Consumers, radio stations and society in general now benefit even more from Philips' intellectual property because the technology in the expired patents can be used royalty-free.

While the CE industry was developing and patenting CD technology, many songs were copyrighted. Just a few of them include "It's Still Rock & Roll to Me" by Billy Joel (1980), "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen (1979) and "Hurts So Good" by John Cougar Mellencamp (1982).

But in contrast to the innovative technology used in the CD, the copyrighted songs may still be monopolized by their owners for another hundred years, give or take, thanks to our out-of-control copyright law. We'll probably be paying forever unless we get enough consumer (a.k.a. voter) momentum going to get the law changed.

Dave Wilson
Owner, WHDX(FM)/WHDZ(FM)
Sr. Director, Technology & Standards
Consumer Electronics Association
Arlington, Va.

Wilson also is a contributor to Radio World. His views are his own and not necessarily those of RW, CEA or its member companies.

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Who Says?

He declares that the music industry fights to block technology that would enable folks to store, sort and playback copyrighted material. Not so.