Friday, February 13, 2009

EU legal affairs committee approve copyright term extension

The EU parliament's legal affairs (JURI) committee has, as expected, approved a proposal to extend the term of copyright in sound recordings to 95 years.

Music copyright to be extended to 95 years

Copyright term for music recordings must be extended from 50 years to 95 years, says legislation approved on Thursday by the Legal Affairs Committee.

Increasing the term of copyright protection would ensure that performers and producers continue to receive royalties for 95 years from the first publication or performance of their song, according to a Commission proposal backed by the committee.

Ensuring that copyright extension benefits performers

The approved report, drafted by Brian Crowley (UEN, IE), amends existing legislation to increase the copyright protection for music recordings to 95 years.

To ensure that performers fully enjoy the additional royalties deriving from copyright extension, the committee amended the original text so as to prevent the use of previous contractual agreements to deduct money from the additional royalties.

A fund for session musicians

A dedicated fund for session musicians was also approved by the committee. This fund would be financed by contributions from producers, who would be obliged to set aside for this purpose, at least once a year, at least 20% of the revenues gained from the proposed extension of copyright term.

Committee members also amended a provision relating to this fund so as to give collecting societies, which represent performers' and producers' interests, the right to administer the annual supplementary remuneration.

Copyright extension for audiovisual works, too?

The committee also asked the Commission to launch an impact assessment of the situation in the European audiovisual sector by January 2010, with a view to deciding whether a similar copyright extension would benefit the audiovisual world.

Review legislation after three years

Finally, MEPs ask the Commission to submit three years after the entry into force of the new legislation, and every four years thereafter, an assessment of whether the copyright extension has in fact improved the social situation of performers.
In the chair: : Giuseppe GARGANI (EPP-ED, IT)
Procedure: co-decision, 1st reading
Plenary vote: March II (Strasbourg)"
The usual guff about protecting poor performers is being trotted out and the music industry are, naturally, very gracious in victory. The ceaseless surreality of policy making in this area is wearing me down. I need to get out of IP geekery and start doing something a bit more productive with that portion of my time.

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