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<nettime> EU extends music copyright for another 20 years
nettime's avid reader on Thu, 8 Sep 2011 15:15:29 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> EU extends music copyright for another 20 years

[What Mickey Mouse is to the US, Beatles are to Europe......]

EU regulators vote to extend music copyright for another 20 years
By Mark Brown
08 September 11


EU regulators in Brussels have voted to approve a controversial directive 
that would see musicians retain copyright over their sound recordings for a 
further 20 years -- a move that appeases ageing rock legends, but has 
plenty of opposition elsewhere.

Currently, as the UK's Intellectual Property Office  explains, "if a song 
is recorded then copyright in this sound recording lasts for 50 years from 
the end of the year in which it was made." Record labels and musicians have 
lobbied to extend this to 70 (or, in some cases, 95) years.

This doesn't affect composers, though. Those who write the music retain 
copyright for as long as they live and a further 70 years beyond that -- 
the same as authors, film directors and screenwriters.

The proposed extension is sometimes called the "Cliff Richard Law" or "The 
Beatles Extension", because both 60s-era artists are seeing the copyright 
on their recordings expire at the moment and both Cliff Richard and  Paul 
McCartney have campaigned for copyright term extensions.

The Who singer Roger Daltry -- another campaigner for term extensions -- 
told  BBC News in 2007 that thousands of artists had "no pensions and rely 
on royalties," and "they are not asking for a handout, just a fair reward 
for their creative endeavours."

But a government-backed, independent review of copyright doesn't agree. A 
2006 Gowers Review of Intellectual Property  said, "The European Commission 
should retain the length of protection on sound recordings and performers' 
rights at 50 years"

In its conclusion, the review says, "it is our view that a term extension 
will likely result in a net loss to UK society as a whole", arguing that 
while retrospective extensions would line the pockets of the largest  
record producers, money to individual performers would be minimal and the 
cost to the consumer would be massive.

But that report has mattered little, as regulators in the EU have given the 
thumbs up to extending copyright terms to 70 years. On 12 September 2011, a 
Council of Ministers will have the final say and if they rubber-stamp the 
changes, member states will be required to write them into law by 2014.

And that means no public domain Beatles works for us to mash up on YouTube 
for another two decades. Damn.

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