In a move heavily lobbied for by the music industry, the EU Council has voted, without debate, to extend copyright monopolies on sound recordings from 50 to 70 years. Despite opposition from many countries, and the European Parliament, governments across the EU have once again shown how out of touch they are with the public mood.
Despite a lack of any credible evidence that it will help content creators, the EU has sanctioned a huge grab of public property, which steals music from the public domain and hands it to record companies. The extension flies directly in the face of the recent Hargreaves Review which observed:
In the case of ... copyright policy..., there is no doubt that the persuasive powers of celebrities and important UK creative companies have distorted policy outcomes.
Yet the British government has chosen to ignore the advice they claim to support, and instead back "Cliff Richard's Law".
Swedish Pirate Party MEP Christian Engström commented:
The purpose of the European Union is to keep the various lobbyists for big business happy, in this case the big record companies that own the rights to 80 percent of all music that has been recorded in history.
Andrew Robinson, Culture, Media and Sport Spokesperson for the Pirate Party UK said
There can be no justification for this change, other than sheer greed on behalf of record companies. Copyright law is normally justified by saying that artists need to be compensated for their work, or they wouldn't make music, but virtually the whole of modern pop music was produced under the 50 year term.
Extending the rights of Elvis, Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse won't get them to produce more work. All this copyright extension will do is channel more money into the pockets of record company executives, at the cost of depriving the public access to work for which the record companies have already been paid.
This change will simply mean the music industry will rely more on their back-catalogue, rather than investing in new artists.
While EU politicians may do what the IFPI wants, the public they are supposed to represent grow increasingly sceptical of perpetually extended copyright. Lobbyists may be able to buy the laws they want, but growth of the Pirate Party movement shows that the public will not put up with corruption forever."
The Pirate Party UK calls on the Government to reject this cynical copyright extension, and implement a copyright policy based on evidence, not lobbying.