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EU Proposes Lengthing Copyright Duration And Recording Contract Protection

BRUSSELS (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
The European Commission has extended a formal proposal to extend the copyright term for recorded performances from 50 to 95 years, apparently falling into line with numerous artists and trade organizations who have lobbied extensively on this issue.

According to the EU Commission, the purpose of the extension is to bring the copyrights in line with those enjoyed by authors and to protect performers and enable their estates to continue to collect royalties until 70 years after their death.

The proposal also includes provisions that would affect the contracts between record labels and performers. Described as a "use it or lose it" clause that will allow performers to get their rights to material back if the record producer does not market the sound recording during the extended period.

The proposal was well-received by the music industry, which had lobbied extensively on this issue. Indie trade association Impala noted in a statement that it was gratified that the Commission has moved to close this copyright gap, especially at a time when early recordings can win new audiences and enjoy a second lease of life on the Internet."

Fran Nevrkla, chairman and CEO of the UK royalty distro firm PPL/VPL wrote in a statement that "The issue of copyright term extension is long overdue but finally the draft proposals recognise the critical and hitherto missing elements of natural justice and fairness both for performers as well as the companies who invest in the talent. In addition, the Green Paper acknowledges that in a fast changing world technology will often outpace legislation but, again, the principle of fair compensation for performers and record companies is of paramount importance and must be recognised." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers