Musicians ‘must keep copyright’

UK copyright must be extended MPs have said

The House Of Commons culture committee has declared that artists have a “moral right” to keep control of their creations while alive.

Paul McCartney and Cliff Richard are among the artists who will see the current 50-year limit on their early sound recordings expire soon.

They recommended that the copyright term for sound recordings should be extended to at least 70 years. This would allow ageing performers to continue to benefit from their early recordings throughout their lifetimes.

Over the next decade some 7,000 people – including backing singers and musicians – will lose royalties from recordings made in the late 1950s and 1960s, the MPs report said.

The report stated: “We have not heard a convincing reason why a composer and his or her heirs should benefit from a term of copyright which extends for lifetime and beyond, but a performer should not.”

In the US, performers keep copyright for 95 years after the song has been released, while the level is 70 years in Australia.

They added: “We recommended that the government should press the European Commission to bring forward proposals for an extension of copyright term for sound recordings to at least 70 years,” reports BBC News.

The BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “We urge the government to respond positively to the select committee and now make the case in Europe for fair copyright protection for British performers and record companies.”

Several organisations oppose the move, including the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance, who told the committee it would “massively upset the balance between right holders and users”.