9th Aug 2020

Singers push for longer EU copyright

Music performers and producers have attacked EU law for being too stingy on intellectual property when it comes to the length of the copyright after an artist's death.

Under EU rules, authors of songs and their families benefit from copyright for the whole of their lives plus 70 years, while performers of songs and their producers benefit for just 50 years from the date of recording.

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The perfomers and producers have now banded together to ask for the same treatment as authors, arguing that 50 years is not long enough, especially as life expectancy has increased byseven years for men and women in Europe over the last few decades.

"Imagine that you, with a rigorous effort, buy a house and that then after 50 years, by law, you are thrown out so that anyone else can live in it," Spanish singer and producer Ramon Arcusa told Spanish daily El Pais. "It is not fair."

"There is no weighty argument to why authors should be awarded more than the artist, what happened is that we entered the legislation game after they did," said Luis Cobos, the head of the Spanish society of performing artists' managers - AISGE.

"Who knows the French composer Jacques Revaux - the author of 'My Way'? The song was made popular by Frank Sinatra and so who has more merit?" MrCobos asked.

Performers and producers on the old continent are among the least-well protected in the world in music copyright terms.

In the US, performers and producers hold recording rights for between 95 and 120 years, while performers in Mexico get 75 years and 70 years in Chile, Brazil, Peru and Turkey.

"Something that confuses me is that the works I write are protected during my life plus 70 years more, but my interpretations of songs are only protected for 50 years," British artist Jamie Cullum said, according to the Spanish paper.

"I would ask the EU why these laws on intellectual property are so unjust," the singer added.

The European Commission and the UK treasury are currently studying the possibility of extending European performers' rights along American lines but any new legislation is still months if not years away.

UK study could see Beatles songs lose EU copyright in 2013

The UK treasury is set to refuse extending copyright on sound recordings from 50 years to 95 years when a report looking at intellectual property rights in the UK is published next week, in a situation that could see EU copyright expire on some Beatles songs in 2013.

Bee Gee to fight for creators rights in Europe

Bee Gee Robin Gibb is set to "champion" the rights of creators in Europe, saying artists should have royalties for life. Singer-songwriter and part of the former brotherly trio the Bee Gees has become the president of an organisation representing creative 2.5 million creative artists cross the world, it was announced on Friday in Brussels.

UK rejects push for longer copyright in the EU

The music industry has reacted with anger after the UK government refused to pursue at EU level a longer copyright term on sound recordings beyond the current 50 years.

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