Copyright term for sound recordings should be extended to at least 70 years, to provide reasonable certainty that an artist will be able to derive benefit from a recording throughout his or her lifetime, according to a report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. The Committee concludes that
“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”.
It finds that the rejection of an extension to copyright term by Andrew Gowers in his Review of Intellectual Property, published in December 2006, failed to take account of the moral right of creators to choose to retain ownership and control of their own intellectual property.
I’m sorry are the Committee talking about copyright in sound recordings or copyright in performance? I’m not sure they don’t think they are the same thing – which they are not, although it is currently true that both have terms of 50 years. They are not the same, and neither are the ‘benefits’ to the performing artist.
Obviously the Committee members all got their copy of the ‘Copyright Gap’
The Report says “Given the strength and importance of the creative industries in the UK, it seems extraordinary that the protection of intellectual property rights should be weaker here than in many other countries whose creative industries are less successful”.
I’m sorry, but doesn’t this actually prove that the 50yr protection on sound recordings has done no harm to our music industry, and has, and does, already encourage the creativity that those wanting an extension says it is preventing.
The Committee also concludes that the present statutory exemptions from infringement of copyright are not providing clarity or confidence for users or for the creative industries, particularly in relation to home copying, and it recommends that the Government should draw up a new exemption permitting copying within domestic premises for domestic use (including portable devices such as MP3 players, and vehicles owned or used regularly by the household) but not onward transmission of copied material. They also rejected levies on hardware or software to ‘cover’ alleged financial losses caused by such copying.
On the subject of DRM, the Committee caution’s against legislating in this area and believes that DRM has a valuable role to play in the protection of creative content, but it warns that “DRM could, if used carelessly, be an own goal”.
One of the daftest suggestions the Committee make is that The the ISP Industry in the UK to set up a self regualting body to examine claims that unlicensed material is being made available on a website, and to block access to the site(s) where breachs of copyright in material hosted on websites is found. To Quote Google, it si “very difficult to try to shut off all access to something you do not like as long as it is legal somewhere else”.
Elsewhere, on arguments made by Terestrial broadcasters that spectrum should be reserved for them for providing HDTV after digital switchover the Committee said:
we do not believe that a persuasive case has yet been made to justify reserving spectrum for High Definition Television following digital switchover, and we endorse Ofcom’s approach in not favouring any particular technology or application in the framework being drawn up for re-allocation of spectrum under the Digital Dividend Review.
On the issue of CC Licences they dismissed arguments from the likes of the Creators’ Rights Alliance who dismissed the concept as being a product of academics who “do not understand the rest of the world”; and said
We believe that Creative Commons licences are a valid option for creators who make a conscious and informed decision to make their work available for re-use. We accept that they can in fact be a useful marketing tool, as long as licensees understand the limitations on future commercial exploitation. Creative Commons licences should not, however, be regarded as the norm; nor should more radical rightsfree regimes. Creators are entitled to demand payment for their product and the success of the creative industries depends on their ability to do so.
Apparently the Creators’ Rights Alliance are also not fans of user generated content, esp the remix culture, stating that copying, cutting and pasting digital content electronically was neither original nor creative and could not be a substitute for self expression. I take it they are not fans of Steve Martin’s ‘Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid’ or Woody Allen’s ‘Zelig’ then?