January 27, 2009 | Category: Uncategorized

Copyright Extension

The other day I did something I’ve never done before: written to an MEP. Below follows my message to them, with regards my views on copyright extension and why the proposed Term Extension directive is a mistake.

Dear [My MEPs],

I am writing to you all today because you represent me in the European Parliament. As such, I would like to bring to your attention my concern (a concern shared by many others) over the proposed extensions to European Copyright law (the Term Extension Directive).

This new directive would mean that copyright for sound recordings would be increased from the current 50 years to 95 years. This runs counter to the purpose of copyright, which is to protect public interest (the creation of new materials) in the long term by protecting commercial interests (being able to generate revenue from new material created) in the short term. By extending the term, the public interest will not be served.

Recordings are already easily lost within the 50 year limit. By extending the terms, we risk losing many recordings where the originals simply won’t be archived; and we will not be able to retrieve them. We lose the advantages that come from having a society whose culture heritage we can take, reshape and rework.

Consider the musical works that do not live in copyright, those of the great composers like Mozart and Vivaldi. It would be a tragedy had their music been lost to short-sighted money making. It will be a tragedy if we lose the work of artists now.

The stated purpose of the extension (to increase revenues to smaller artists) can be shown to be a fallacy. Most artists will receive only a small amount of extra revenue (between 0.5 and 26 Euros), and the vast majority of money will go straight to record labels and larger recording artists whose interests do not need protected further.

Independent reviews (Gower, Hugenholtz) have shown that this directive is harmful to our heritage and is against the interests of the vast majority of the European community.

I urge you to do the right thing: register against this directive.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Fleming