UK politicians see need to ‘extend the term’

July 2007

Record labels

A UK Parliamentary Committee has come out in support of the UKL record label’s position that copyright protection for sound recordings must be extended beyond 50 years to prevent veteran musicians like Cliff Richard and Paul McCartney from losing royalties in later life. The duration of copyright in sound recordings under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 stands at 50 years. Songwriters (for both music and lyrics) are protected for 75 yeasr from the death of the last surviving author and the BPI have pointed out that the copyright protection for recoridngs in the United States is 95 years from release. In Australia it is 70 years. However the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, commissioned by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and released in December, rejected calls to extend the protection. Andrew Gowers, who headed the review, said that longer copyright terms would increase the costs for consumers and companies that play music. The parliamentary report argues that Gowers examined the situation from a purely economic point of view and had not considered the moral rights of artists to own and control their intellectual property. The committee called on the government to lobby the European Commission to extend the term of copyright to at least 70 years.

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