Sir: I read with interest your article (26 July) on the plight of the British music industry, and the fact that after 50 years material is passing into the public domain by what we are told is a “legal loophole”. The British Phonographic Industry”s Peter Jamieson tells us that it is unfair to performers and record label investors that they would fail to get a return because of a free-for-all in Europe. How is getting a 50- year return “unfair”?
The real danger according to Mr Jamieson is us, the people, as the threat to the British recording industry exists “when we get this wealth of British repertoire which started in around 1960 falling into anybody”s hands”. No doubt we”re not to be trusted with the responsibility of taking care of these assets.
Thankfully last week the European Commission launched a consultation on simplifying and harmonising the various existing EU directives on copyright and related rights. In their working paper outlining their recommendations they resist arguments for wholesale changes to the directives such as extending copyright for recorded music from 50 to 95 years (as in the US), noting, correctly, that most other industrialised countries apply a term of 50 years.
The paper also published letters from Alex Lambert and Samuel Lesley. Shame they didn’t include Alex Bazin’s as well, which I personally think is better than those (including mine) printed.
Larry Lessig also has a post on this issue.