Copyright

Via Thomasina a little while back, I read with interest of this theory on the facilitative role of under-developed copyright law in enabling Germany to catch up and even overtake Britain in the Industrial Revolution during the nineteenth century.

Copyright definitely remains “under-developed” in China. To tighten it up too suddenly (assuming one wanted to) would be a bit like a credit squeeze on whole hosts of businesses which operate on unpaid-for intellectual property capital – noting of course that intellectual property capital is only property or capital if you can get someone to pay for it or have to pay for it yourself.

I picked up the Schubert (Badura Skoda) (25 RMB) and Bach (Henle) (17 RMB) when last in Shanghai. They are official, Chinese editions of their European originals – nothing copyright busting about them, save to the extent that their original publishers necessarily accepted a copyright fee fixed in some proportionate way to a Chinese rather than German or Austrian cost in the shops.

I’ve mostly been playing Schubert – impromptus and the odd musical moment. There are heavenly half hours and (OK, I’m not quite up to tempo yet) more there, though at times one can begin to wonder if one might be approaching too much of a good thing.

One Response to “Copyright”

  1. Tatyana Says:

    Interesting, they look like nice editions.

    Just regarding this: ‘… save to the extent that their original publishers necessarily accepted a copyright fee fixed in some proportionate way to a Chinese rather than German or Austrian cost in the shops …’

    As far as I understand (and I’m not a lawyer, but I work in publishing), that’s usually how publishing rights are sold for editions in different territories; the copyright holder and the publisher gain some profit from publishing arrangements outside the publisher’s ‘target markets’, so everyone’s happy.

    Great to see such books are now being sold in Chinese bookshops. (I have no doubt that copyright issues are still ‘underdeveloped’ there, but perhaps that’ll change too…)

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