If you have some wild notion that the current copyright regime has anything to do with paying the actual artists, then you need to see this article from Wired. The bottom line - it's all about the members of the RIAA and the MPAA:
Emerging online distribution methods are fueling the dispute, as Hollywood writers demand residual compensation for TV and film content sold through iTunes and other services. Producers want to delay those royalty payments, calling the technologies too new to know how much actual profits they generate.
There's a chuckle - the technologies are "too new" to know whether they generate profits (which is why companies like NBC are playing hardball with Apple, right?). I'm sure Sony, NBC (et. al.) aren't setting aside the revenues from these sources into a rainy day fund. What a complete set of tools.