Feeds

Copyright gets 'Use It Or Lose It' clause

EC ties strings to term extension

The Power of One Infographic

The European Commission today approved an extension to the life of sound recording copyright, from 50 to 90 years - but with a twist.

The EC has insisted on a "use it or lose it" clause, which allows the recordings to revert to the performer if the producer or record company has no desire to market the recording. It's designed to prevent recordings gathering cobwebs in record company vaults, and the new clause can be invoked a year after the 50-year term expires.

"The clause will empower performers to market their early songs themselves," the Commission wrote in a statement.

The EC argued that term extension was justified on the basis that poorly-paid performers, rather than large record companies, were morally justified. Because most CDs fail to recoup, performers who are paid by a percentage of sales rarely see a dime over their session rate. However, when a sound recording is broadcast, the performers get 50 per cent of the resulting royalty. (For their part, the songwriters and composers earn money from another copyright, which remains unchanged at life plus 70 years.) The Commission estimated the term extension would give these performers an average of €150 to €2000 a year.

"We are not talking about featured artists like Sir Cliff Richard or the Beatles here," the commission said in an accompanying FAQ.

"This is about the thousands of anonymous session musicians, who contributed to sound recordings in the late fifties and sixties. They will no longer get airplay royalties from their recordings, even though these royalties often contribute to their pension. They will lose protection just when online retailing promises a new source of revenue."

Last year music manager Keith Harris lamented here that the debate had been skewed to one about the rights of big record companies and established superstars.

The Eurocrats also gave a sharp rebuke to New Labour.

Two years ago, the "freetard-friendly" Gowers Report (penned by NuLab wonks) recommended no term extension at all for sound recordings, and gave a green light to an uncompensated copying "right". The Commission said that Gowers had failed to take account of the creator's moral rights.

In a parallel move, Brussels has recommended changes to the rights enjoyed by national royalty-collecting societies.

Societies enjoy collective bargaining power on behalf of their creator members, when negotiating rates with broadcasters, for example. Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said that creators can now assign their rights to whichever collection society they choose, out of the 23 Europe societies. Kroes said the EC hoped the rule change would stimulate the market and improve royalty rates.

CISAC, which represents national collecting societies, described the changes as "illogical", and said creators would end up with lower royalty payments than today. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.