For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

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Wednesday, 25 July 2007

UK Gov: no copyright extensions (for now)


Perhaps things are changing after all, now that we have a new PM. The UK Government is reported to have rejected the idea of extending the term of copyright for sound recordings and performers' rights (see previous IPKat mewsings on the subject here, here, here, here and here).

(Right: What are Cliff and Roger really looking for?)

The British music industry, as well as certain high profile ageing artists such as Cliff Richard, and Roger "hope I die before I get old" Daltrey are apparently not best pleased about it, but will carry on lobbying at the European level in their attempts to further extend copyright (and top up their respective profits and pension pots).

The IPKat wonders: what could Cliff and Roger possibly have in common that they want these terms extended so badly? Why isn't Pete Townshend joining in?

More lobbying for extensions here, here and here.

3 comments:

Michalis Kosmopoulos said...

Following preasures of the entertainment ans artistic business, the copyright term is beeing constantly extended. Can a rediction be made that in practice there will be no expire date for audio and audiovisual rights?

Ilanah said...

The rejection came in the Department of Media, Culture and Sport's response to the Media, Culture and Sport Select Committee's report of May this year. You can read the response here http://www.culture.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/3E8E36E8-3B56-4219-89B2-0623C0AA8AF3/0/375268_GovResponse.pdf

There's rather a lot of juicy IP stuff in there, including comments on DRM and Creative Commons. However, most disturbing from the IPKat's point of view is the fact that rather than back the Committee's finding that newspapers should have to opt out of indexing websites (i.e. search engines), the Government states:

"We acknowledge that activities such as indexing may serve useful public functions by enabling public access to and dissemination of information. We are nevertheless aware of the concerns raised by publishers and would urge both sides to continue to work together to resolve specific issues."

Hardly a ringing endorsement of search engines. The IPKat wonders if we'll have to watch this space.

David said...

Try this link instead, which should work. The Government disagrees with the select committee's view that copyright should be extended, and says (at paragraph 28):

"The Government appreciates the work of the Committee and the deliberation it has given to this subject. 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."

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