Friday, December 12, 2008

UK government U-turn on copyright extension

It seems that the UK government are doing a U-turn on their opposition to the extension of the copyright term in sound recordings. The good folks are ORG are unimpressed and suggest we start writing to our MEPs.
"UK Culture Secretary Andy Burnham today indicated that he would support an extension of the length of copyright protection granted to sound recordings from 50 years to 70 years.

The announcement directly contradicts previous Government policy on term extension, and could disappoint many UK citizens hoping the UK will reject proposals currently being discussed at EU level to extend the copyright term. Back in 2006, the independent Gowers Review of Intellectual Property recommended against term extension. The review commissioned significant independent research [.pdf] which found that extending term would have a negative effect on consumers, and scant benefits for the majority of performers. Making the announcement today, Burnham indicated that he was prepared to ignore the facts in favour of what he called a “moral case”.

But the U-turn can probably be more accurately ascribed to the intense lobbying activities of record labels and collecting societies - the bodies likely to see the most benefit from extending term - ever since Gordon Brown accepted Gowers’ recommendations in full."

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