The European Union Council has voted to extend the copyright on sound recordings from 50 to 70 years.
The impact of the measure should not be underestimated: Under the 50 year rule, copyright on songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who would have expired in the next few years, meaning anyone could use the songs how they wanted. Record labels would have ceased to receive royalties.
Extending the copyright has been pushed by the music industry for the following reasons:
- The disparity between the sound recording term (50 years from recording) and that enjoyed by composers and authors (life plus 70 years).
- The disparity between the European (50 years) and US term (95 years).
- Protection of 50 years often does not protect performances of artists for their entire lifetime.
Opponents to the measure declared the change will mostly benefit record labels, who own the the copyright on studio recordings, rather than the artists themselves who own the rights to the composition.
There are some elements of the EU directive though that will directly benefit performers. A "use it or lose it" clause will obligate labels to ensure all 50 year old recordings are available somewhere for public purchase, otherwise the featured artist will be able to take control of tracks in the extended period.
Last edit: 2011-09-14 07:26:47 UTC by Bastien