Copyright extension term rejected by EU commissioned report

By EDRi · January 17, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The Recasting of Copyright & Related Rights for the Knowledge Economy is a
new study commissioned by the European Union and produced by the Institute
for Information Law – University of Amsterdam. The report covers an
extensive ground in the EU copyright domain taking into consideration the
problems of harmonization in the copyright field, but also the new
challenges and debates regarding the extension of the copyright term for
sound recordings or consumer awareness and acceptance of copyright.

The report is strongly rejecting the music industry’s call for the extension
of the term for neighbouring rights:
“The authors of this study are not convinced by the arguments made in favour
of a term extension. The term of protection currently laid down in the Term
Directive (50 years) is already well above the minimum standard of the Rome
Convention (20 years), and substantially longer than the terms that
previously existed in many Member States.(…)
An examination of the underpinnings of existing neighbouring rights regimes
does not lend support to claims for term extension. Whereas copyright
(author’s right) protects creative authorship, the rights of phonogram
producers are meant to protect economic investment in producing sound
The market dominance of the ‘majors’ is an economic factor to be taken into
consideration. A term extension would in all likelihood strengthen and
prolong this market dominance to the detriment of free competition.”

The EU report is confirming what other national reports have already pointed
out. During the similar UK debate, the report commissioned by the Gowers
review on the economic evidence on copyright term extension showed that it
was “very likely that a term extension of the type under consideration would
cause a net welfare loss to society” and estimated the loss to 155
million pounds per year.

The Minister for Science and Innovation, Malcolm Wicks, has announced that
it will be leaving the question of copyright term extension in
sound recordings to the European Commission.

The same EU study finds that “An assessment of the acceptance of copyright
by the general public is more difficult to make. For this purpose empirical
data on p2p file sharing and software sharing were analysed as ‘indicators
by proxy’. These surveys make clear that unauthorised use and distribution
is the norm for approximately 50 per cent of the populations concerned.”

Regarding the results of the harmonization process, the report states that
it “has produced mixed results at great expense, and its beneficial effects
on the Internal Market remain largely unproven and are limited at best” and
also “advises the EC legislature not to undertake any new initiatives at
harmonisation, except where a clear need for amendment of the existing
acquis can be demonstrated.”

The Recasting of Copyright & Related Rights for the Knowledge Economy
Executive Summary


UK will leave question of term extension to EU (11.01.2007)