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Not-So-Golden Oldies


The Temptations performed at the White House in 2008.(AFP/Getty Images)

The golden oldies may not be worth their weight in gold after all because of a quirky copyright law, but Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., wants Congress to change that.

In an op-ed for USA TodayConyers, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, called on his colleagues to revise the law as part of their ongoing review of copyright laws in light of new technologies that are changing the way entertainment and information are consumed.


Under current copyright laws, songs recorded before 1972 are protected under state law and songs recorded after Feb. 15, 1972, are protected under federal law. Some digital music services are interpreting this break to resist paying artists who fall in the former category.

This means that Dionne Warwick receives royalties for "I'll Never Love This Way Again," but not for her most famous song: "I Sat a Little Prayer for You"; while the Temptations are compensated for "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," but not for their penultimate recording, "My Girl."

"As Congress undertakes its review of copyright law, ensuring due compensation for sound recordings made before 1972 is worthy of our consideration and, most certainly, our respect," Conyers wrote.

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