Friday, September 07, 2007

Joyful noise from the EU

EU Directive Limits Orchestra Loudness

Published: September 7, 2007 VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Shhhh! Mute the brass, and please -- go easy on the cymbals! A European Union directive on noise abatement contains a provision that will limit the ''noise'' of symphony orchestras beginning early next year. While it's not meant to ban Beethoven's ''ba-ba-ba-baah,'' some musicians are worried overzealous enforcement could take the ''Joy'' out of the German master's exuberant ''Ode to ...''

And what does this have to do with copyright? Well - I'm glad you asked.

Given the way the EU can work, there could be a conflict between the noise abatement directive and deeply entrenched moral rights principles in copyright law. Some particularly noisy composer (no names) might well complain that his or her music isn't being played loudly enough.

And then we could have litigation, with one set of laws conflicting with the other and various directorates in Brussels engaging in noisy internecine turf warfare.

And we could have moral rights of performers who want to play louder (usually trombone and percussion players) pitted against those who want to play softer (e.g. clarinetists and violists) and in turn those of the composer...not to mention the conductor...And large orchestras have over one hundred performers...

And then there's the cultural diversity issue....

And it could all end up in the European Court of Justice...

And if you don't believe me about moral rights of performers, see Article 5 of the WPPT.

Maybe the answer would be a noise rights collective, that could deal in noise credits in a manner analogous to carbon credits and distribute the proceeds in a fair and equitable manner...

But I shouldn't give out ideas here... somebody in Canada may decide that another collective is just what we need... After all, we only have about three dozen now.

What fun copyright law can be!


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