AFTER ALMOST TEN YEARS OF CAMPAIGNING, ARTISTS AND RECORD COMPANIES HAVE WON A FAIR COPYRIGHT TERM
On Monday 12 September 2011, the Council of the European Union adopted the Directive increasing the copyright term for performers and record companies from 50 to 70 years from release. The amending Term of Protection Directive had already been adopted by the European Parliament.
This is the culmination of a ten year campaign by performers and the wider music industry across Europe. PPL first raised copyright term with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2002.
Welcoming the news, PPL Chairman and CEO Fran Nevrkla said, “This is a tremendous development and we must recognise the goodwill of the politicians in Britain and other parts of Europe who understood that this key change in the copyright legislation was long overdue. I am delighted that we at PPL, jointly with our many thousands of individual performer and record company members, have been able to play an important role in this process.
“It is not possible to overstate the effectiveness of the sterling work by many individual PPL performers who signed copyright petitions, lobbied Parliament here and in Brussels and generally remained completely engaged and determined to succeed. This copyright change will mean that the PPL income streams will continue to flow through to the whole community of recording artists, orchestral players, session musicians, backing singers and other performers for an additional period of 20 years which is so important, especially when those individuals reach ripe old age and are no longer able to exercise their profession. The enhanced copyright framework will also enable the record companies, big and small, to continue investing in new recordings and new talent.”
The main terms of the draft Term of Protection Directive are:
• Increase term of protection for sound recordings to 70 years from release.
• Set aside 20% of sales revenue to establish a fund for session musicians.
• A use-it-or-lose-it clause so performers can recover their rights if the recording is not released.
• A ‘clean slate’ provision effectively writing off unrecouped balances after 50 years.
The next step will be implementation in Member States. The Directive will be published in the EU Official Journal in October and Member States will then have two years to implement into national legislation. From that point, sound recordings in the EU will enjoy a copyright term of 70 years from the date of release. This means that recordings dating from 1963 onwards will enjoy the longer copyright term and musicians on those recordings will benefit from the additional measures. Earlier recordings will not enjoy the extended term and will remain in the public domain.
NEXT STEPS TO IMPLEMENTATION
October 2011: Amending Term of Protection Directive published in EU Official Journal
TBC (after two years): Copyright Term Directive implemented in Member States’ legislation
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