Sunday

11th Dec 2016

Focus

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.

Musicians and record labels criticized ministers in the department for culture, media and sport on Tuesday (24 July) for rejecting an appeal by a committee of MPs, to lobby the European Commission to increase the copyright term to at least 70 years.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

They argued that refusing to fight for a longer royalties lifespan for music tracks, which some musicians describe as their pension provision, showed performers were seen as "second-class citizens".

"Thousands of musicians have no pensions and rely on royalties to support themselves. These people helped to create one of Britain's most successful industries, poured money into the British economy and enriched people's lives," said singer Roger Daltrey from The Who.

"They are not asking for a handout, just a fair reward for their creative endeavours," he said in a statement after the UK decision.

EU regulation

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.

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.

Artists like the former Beatles-members and their families will therefore still for some time hold the copyright to the Beatles songs they wrote, but their and the record label's right to the interpretations of the songs will start to expire in 2013.

The UK campaign for a longer copyright term recently gathered momentum as the UK's major rock'n'roll hits from the late 1950s – such as Cliff Richard's first hit single "Move It" from 1958 – will fall out of copyright for the performer.

"The UK is a world-beating source of great music, so it is frustrating that on the issue of copyright term the government has shown scant respect for British artists and the UK recording industry," said John Kennedy, the head of IFPI which represents the recording industry worldwide.

"Some of the greatest works of British music will soon be taken away from the artists who performed them and the companies that invested in them. Extending copyright term would promote vital investment in young talent and new music, all of which will help to secure the UK's future as an exciting music market," he added.

No benefits

But the UK government suggests that extending the copyright period would neither benefit the majority of performers nor increase incentives to produce new works.

"An extension would not benefit the majority of performers, most of whom have contractual relationship requiring their royalties be paid back to the record label," the government report concluded.

It also said that an extension would lead to increased costs to industry - such as those who use music, whether to provide ambience in a shop or restaurant or for TV or radio broadcasting - and to consumers who would have to pay royalties for longer.

An independent report, commissioned by the European Commission as part of its ongoing work in reviewing copyright legislation, came to a similar conclusion in November 2006.

EU asylum return focus expands police scrutiny

EU interior ministers agreed to start legislative talks with the EU parliament to expand the scope of an asylum database, Eurodac, to include migrants and stateless people.

Column / Brexit Briefing

The Brexit picture starts to emerge

The week in Westminster and Brussels highlight the difficulty Theresa May faces in trying to keep control of the Brexit timetable.

News in Brief

  1. Council of Europe critical of Turkey emergency laws
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Use Bioenergy Coming From Forests in a Sustainable Way?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First