Cliff Richard is figureheading a campaign to increase the length of performers’ rights for singers and musicians says the BBC. Currently performers’ rights last for 50 years from the end of the year in which the performance was performed, compared with 70 years post mortem for the composers of musical works and the writers of lyrics.He told Radio 4’s Today programme:
"It seems to me we should ask for parity…It doesn't seem just…It seems terribly wrong that 50 years on they lose everything from it".He also pointed out that many 1950s singers rely on their copyright royalties as a pension.
The IPKat isn’t particularly convinced by this. Parity isn’t a feature of the copyright regime. Different types of works are accorded different lengths and levels of protection based on how ‘deserving’ they are felt to be. Lack of parity isn’t limited to performers’ rights and any attempt to ‘level up’ should in theory have a knock-on effect across the copyright board. He also wonders how many other professions there are in which workers can expect to get new money from the work that they did fifty years ago. Other workers are expected to use their earnings as they work to plan for the future.
Thanks to Russell Woolford of Shoosmiths for pointing out this story.