Looks like the government has got something right for a change. According to the good folks at ORG, the government has rejected calls from the music industry and the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee to extend the term of copyright on sound recordings. The full response to the select committee's 'Report into New Media and the Creative Industries Cm 7186' is worth a read (it runs to about 18 (12 substantive) pages of pdf). The relevant bit is the govenrment's response to item 28 right at the end:
"28. We recommend that the Government should press the European Commission to bring forward proposals for an extension of copyright term for sound recordings to at least 70 years, to provide reasonable certainty that an artist will be able to derive benefit from a recording throughout his or her lifetime. (Paragraph 236)
The Government appreciates the work of the Committee and the deliberation it has given to thissubject. As the Committee noted, the independent Gowers Review also considered this issue in detail and recommended that the European Commission retain a term of protection for sound recordings and performers of 50 years. The Review undertook a detailed analysis of all the arguments put forward, including the moral arguments regarding the treatment of performers. It concluded that an extension would not benefit the majority of performers, most of whom have contractual relationships requiring their royalties be paid back to the record label. It also concluded that an extension would have a negative impact on the balance of trade and that it would not increase incentives to create new works. Furthermore, it considered not just the impact on the music industry but on the economy as a whole, and concluded 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. In reaching such conclusions, the Review took account of the question of parity with other countries such as the US, and concluded that, although royalties were payable for longer there, the total amount was likely to be similar – or possibly less – as there were fewer revenue streams available under the US system.
“An independent report, commissioned by the European Commission as part of its ongoing work in reviewing the copyright acquis, also considered the issue of term. It reached the same overall conclusion on this matter as the Gowers Review.
“Taking account of the findings of these reports, which carefully considered the impact on the economy as a whole, and without further substantive evidence to the contrary, it does not seem appropriate for the Government to press the Commission for action at this stage."
The IFPI and BPI have responded by saying they'll now take their fight to the EU.