Thursday 22 September 2011

Copyright extension bad news for anyone who loves music

No one seemed to think it was a good idea.  Two government-commissioned reports cast doubt on it's benefits to the music industry.  Nevertheless, the European Union Council has voted to increase the term of copyright on recorded performances from the current 50 years to 70.  Cliff Richard was poster boy for a long campaign that argued it was wrong for performances such as his own to fall into the public domain within the lifetime of their artists.  He and other famous artists can now rest assured that their early hits will not be viable for free use in advertising and other public platforms for some time to come.  Those artists and corporations with revenue now guaranteed for a couple more decades will paint this as a moral victory for everyone who creates; music lovers who now find previously available half-century old recordings put under lock and key and see performing rights traded like commodities might beg to differ.

The full implications of the legislation will not be clear for some time - European governments have two years to fall into line.  The headlines have focused on mega stars with back catalogues to protect, such as Cliff and The Beatles, but this will have ramifications for the classical music industry.  Devil's Trill will be looking at just what the implications will be, but in the meantime, Bob Stanley's excellent piece in the Guardian explains why the new law is good news for celebrities and bad news for music.

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