Thursday, June 19, 2008

IP law Centres write to Commission on copyright term extension

My friend and colleague, Mark Rogers, is amongst the signatories of a Letter to the President of the European Commission warning of the damage Charlie McCreevy's proposed extension of copyright term in sound recordings will do to the Commission.

The letter is accompanied by a full impact assessment of the empirical affects of the extension produced by the leading centres for IP policy research in the EU at Cambridge, Oxford, London, Queen Mary College, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, LSE and a whole host of others, coordinated by Martin Kretschmer and Philip Hardwick at Bournemouth University.

They suggest:

"It is a spectacular kowtow to one single special interest group: the multinational recording industry...

The proposed Copyright Extension Directive will damage European creative endeavour and innovation beyond repair."

They go on to say that competition will be impeded, consumers harmed and the EU's balance of trade damaged.

"If the European Commission wishes to support European artists, there are many possible measures that would not result in monopolising the back catalogue of recorded music for another 45 years. At the level of member states, policies include (i) the regulation of copyright contracts, and (ii) social security and insurance schemes; at the European level, policies include (i) equitable remuneration rights only available to living performers, and (ii) the regulation of collecting societies and licence tariffs, such as the nature and distribution of income from any copyright levy scheme.

The record industry was offered a generous commercial bargain when investing in recorded music under the current exclusive term of 50 years. This already far exceeds the protection available to other R&D intensive industries. It cannot be the job of the European Commission to protect the revenues of incumbent companies at the cost of consumers, creativity and innovation."

This is pretty hard hitting stuff from academics who usually use much more neutral language.

No comments: