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Copyright Law Musicians

Will an Extension to the Copyright Law Really Benefit Musicians?

November 28, 2008

Recently, the European Commission announced that it would like to extend copyright protection for performers. Currently a performer’s copyright lasts for 50 years while an author’s or composer’s copyright lasts for their lifetime plus 70 years. The proposal from the European Commission would extend the performance copyright to 95 years. This change would mean that the copyright for sound recordings, for both the performers and directors, would be extended to 95 years.

Many opponents have pointed out that the change will give very few benefits to the majority of performers. According to the report by the Commission the change in law is likely only to bring in less than a £1 a year in royalties to performers. It has also pointed out that the increase is likely to hurt consumers the most causing a rise in prices and then only benefit the most powerful record companies and only the most famous of performers.

A government spokesperson told the BBC that “We are sympathetic to the European Commission’s goal of improving the situation for performers but we don’t believe that the current proposal achieves this aim. The UK believes the proposal is too complex and most of the benefits will go to the record companies rather than the performers. The UK is still considering the detail of this proposal and it will consider future alternatives that come forward.”

Although it is a laudable goal to help musicians earn more in royalties, the Commission needs to address other ways this might be achieved rather than by executing a complicated extension of copyright.