I browsed through the archives of this site and was rather surprised that no-one blogged about this before. Since copyright is something that affects a lot of creative web users I think this is a topic that should be mentioned here.
What’s it all about? Last month the EP’s Committee on Legal Affairs approved a proposal for a directive that extends the sound copyright from 50 to 95 years. This month, according to the EUobserver, it will be voted on in a plenary session of the EP. The directive is designed to
“improve the social situation of performers, and in particular sessions musicians, taking into account that performers are increasingly outliving the existing 50 year period of protection for their performances .” (download the proposal from the Committee meeting’s page)
This is how Europarl TV introduces the directive. (a link to their site, embedding fails)
The proposal sketches the image of the poor artist (“in the UK, in 2001, only 5% of performers earned over £10000 annually” (pp.3)) and the struggling “phonogram producers“, firing thousands of employees. It gives you the feeling that this directive is the only solution to help the music industry.
Well, there is a flip side, as you might have guessed. Take a look at this video by the Open Rights Group (ORG):
This directive will not help the average artist to become a well earning musician.
Last January, Becky Hogge, Executive Director of the ORG, explained in Brussels why this directive is a “fairy tale”.
I signed the petition on Sound Copyright months ago, since I strongly agree on the arguments that extending copyright terms will not benefit the average artist, rather those that make a lot of money already: the record labels and well-known musicians. I don’t feel sorry for Sir Cliff that his copyright on Living Doll will “slip outside the fifty year term in July” (Times Online). He surely has set his pension aside. If not, he is just a bad entrepreneur.
Biggest question in my mind right now is whether the way this directive is being pushed forward, despite very solid arguments against its effectiveness (and perhaps truthfullness), is exemplary for law making in the EU.