According to European commissioner Charlie McCreevy, performing artists should no longer be the 'poor cousins' of the music business, and is proposing an increase in the term of copyright for sound recordings from 50 to 95 years. In a press release issued today, he is quoted as saying:
"I strongly believe that copyright protection for Europe's performers represents a moral right to control the use of their work and earn a living from their performances. I have not seen a convincing reason why a composer of music should benefit from a term of copyright which extends to the composer's life and 70 years beyond, while the performer should only enjoy 50 years, often not even covering his lifetime It is the performer who gives life to the composition and while most of us have no idea who wrote our favourite song – we can usually name the performer."Charlie intends to bring forward a proposal to extend the term of protection for sound recordings to 95 years. This proposal should apparently be ready for adoption by the Commission before the summer break of 2008.
The IPKat sees the dead hand of copyright trying to extend its grasping fingers yet again, having previously failed to persuade Andrew Gowers and the UK government that such an extension could be justified (see IPKat comments here and here). If Charlie cannot see any reason why composers should be receiving royalties up to 70 years after they die, the IPKat wonders why the debate isn't instead about whether to reduce this term, rather than extending the terms of other rights?