Tuesday, September 13, 2011

European Union Extends Copyright Term for Performers & Sound Recordings to Seventy (70) Years (Directive PE-CONS 16/11)

EU Extends Copyright Term To 70 Years (Directive PE-CONS 16/11)

In case you missed it, the European Union has extended the copyright term for performers and sound recordings to seventy (70) years. The previous term was fifty (50) years.

The subject of the Directive amends Directive 2006/116/EC on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights.


The directive to extend the term of protection for performers and sound recordings to 70 years was adopted on 12 September 2011. The aim of the directive is to bring performers' protection more in line with that already given to authors - 70 years after their death. The extended term will enable performers to earn money for a longer period of time and in any event throughout their lifetime. The income from copyright remuneration is important for performers, as they often do not have other regular salaried income. The extended term will also benefit record producers who will generate additional revenue from the sale of records in shops and on the internet. This should allow producers to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment and help them maintain their investment levels in new talent.

The directive also contains accompanying measures which aim specifically to help performers. The 'use it or lose it' clauses which will now have to be included in the contracts linking performers to their record companies will allow performers to get their rights back if the record producer does not market the sound recording during the extended period. In this way the performer will be able to either find another record producer willing to sell his music or do it himself, something that is possible easily via the internet. In case neither the performer nor the producer would wish to market the recording, the recording would no longer be protected. In this way, the term extension would avoid 'locking up' those recordings that are not commercially interesting. Finally, record companies will have to set up a fund into which they will have to pay 20% of their revenues earned during the extended period. The money from this fund will be destined to help session musicians.

Source: European Commission

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