Extended copyright term for sound recordings pushed back

By EDRi · April 8, 2009

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Deutsch: [Verlängerte Urheberrechtsfrist für Tonaufnahmen abgelehnt | http://www.unwatched.org/node/1358]

The proposal for the extension of the copyright terms for sound recordings
was rejected on 27 March 2009 by COREPER, which has the task to negotiate a
consensus before the EU Council of Ministers takes votes.

To the great disappointment of the recording industry, COREPER rejected the
extension of the copyright term as there was no consensus of the Member
States on the matter. A sufficient number of states opposed the legislative
proposal to constitute a “blocking minority”.

So, the European Commission’s intention to extend the term from the current
50 years to 95 years, although backed by the legal affairs committee in the
European Parliament is at least postponed. UK is one of the states having
changed its position in this matter, having reservations to the attempts of
industry lobbyists to oppose to a related retirement fund for future
musicians. The British government stated having voted against the proposal
because the “current text did not yet give sufficient benefit for
performers.” UK would be in favour of a shorter extension of up to 70 years.

“It is clear that today’s outcome will not kill off the proposals to extend
copyright term, but rather that member states need more time to consider
that details of the proposal and reach an agreement,” said John Denham,
British MP, UK secretary of state for innovation.

The Featured Artists’ Coalition (FAC) considers any extension of the
existing rights would only benefit record companies and that at the end of
the 50-year period, copyright should automatically transfer from record
labels to artists. “Record companies would simply gain another 45 years of
ownership, entrenching the terms of record contracts signed in an analogue
age,” was FAC’s statement.

The FAC has set up a different set of policies on copyright and intellectual
property than that of the music industry lobbying groups and has launched
a “Charter for fair play”. The Charter states that artists should have the
“ultimate ownership of thei music” and that “rights holders should have a
fiduciary duty of care to ther originator of those rights and must always
explain how any agreement may affect how their work is exploited.”

The coallition’s opinion this will not be achieved by the extension of the
copyright term but by a change in the approach of the agreements between
artists and the music industry and in the up-dating of the legislation. “So
we will campaign for laws, regulations, business practices and policies that
protect artists’ rights. We will stand up for all artists by engaging with
government, music and technology companies, and collection societies. We
will argue for fair play and will expose unfair practices,” says the

The EU Czech presidency will continue working on the proposal in order to
prepare a second reading for a possible agreement in the future.

EU governments vote against copyright extension in Brussels (1.04.2009)

Europe split on music copyright extension (28.03.2009)

Every Vote Counts: the EU Copyright Term Extension Battle Heats Up

U.K. Biz ‘Disappointed’ At EU Term Extension Rejection (27.03.2009)

Pop star union demands new kind of copyright extension (2.04.2009)

FAC – A charter for fair play in the digital age

EDRi-gram: Extension of copyright term postponed in the European Parliament