EU Proposes to Extend Copyright for Performers

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The European Commission this week released a proposal to extend copyright protection for performers and sound recordings to 95 years, bringing it into line with the copyright term for authors and composers in the region, which is currently 70 years.

The current term of 50 years means that performers can outlive the copyright, losing a revenue stream late in life, when arguably they need it the most. The extended protection would also apply to record companies, allowing labels to generate increased revenues on back catalog as the industry continues toward increased digital distribution and falling CD sales.

This proposal follows other unsucessful attempts to extend copyright, most noteably in the UK. In 2005 the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property advised against copyright extension.

Unfortunately for Canadian performers and record companies, recent Canadian copyright debates and the proposed copyright reform legislation are stuck in a place far from this issue. Current copyright terms in Canada are 50 years. Extended copyright terms for performers would provide income and recognition where it is well deserved, with the performers.

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