Friday, February 27, 2009

Academics write to UK minister on copyright term

From Sound Copyright:

In an open letter sent today to David Lammy, UK Minister for Innovation, some of the UK's most eminent economists and intellectual property scholars, have hit out at UK government proposals to consider changing policy on term extension. The letter, which has also been sent to the UK Cabinet Office, Treasury and Culture Minister, voices serious concern at the lack of evidence justifying a change that seems to show the Government prefers special interests over facts.

An extension of 20 years was the focus of discussion during the UK government's own review, led by the former Financial Times Editor Andrew Gowers, who looked at the evidence and concluded that any extension, whether by 5, 20 or 45 years, was a bad idea for consumers, creators and follow-on innovators.

So we certainly shouldn't be falling for the classic 'ask for double and settle for half' rouse today.

Longer copyright terms would put money into the hands of record companies and dead artists' estates, at the expense of royalties to musicians trying to earn money today. Yet the music companies peddle lies about supporting poor artists.

The Open Rights has been telling MEPs in Europe and in the UK that the evidence is against a copyright extension on music. But with a plenary vote set for late march the EU will force-feed it to us anyway unless we let MEPs know. We urge you again - write to your MEPs now!

Update: See also ORG's blog entry from 6th February Sound Copyright conference attacks the “fairy tale” of copyright term extension.

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