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Thursday, February 12, 2009
Music Copyright to be Extended to 95 Years

Copyright term for music recordings must be extended from 50 years to 95 years, says legislation approved on Thursday by the EU's Legal Affairs Committee.

Increasing the term of copyright protection would ensure that performers and producers continue to receive royalties for 95 years from the first publication or performance of their song, according to a Commission proposal backed by the committee.

The approved report, drafted by Brian Crowley (UEN, IE), amends existing legislation to increase the copyright protection for music compositions on physical devices (i.e. digital forms are excluded) to 95 years.

To ensure that performers fully enjoy the additional royalties deriving from copyright extension, the committee amended the original text so as to prevent the use of previous contractual agreements to deduct money from the additional royalties.

A dedicated fund for session musicians was also approved by the committee. This fund would be financed by contributions from producers, who would be obliged to set aside for this purpose, at least once a year, at least 20% of the revenues gained from the proposed extension of copyright term.

Committee members also amended a provision relating to this fund so as to give collecting societies, which represent performers' and producers' interests, the right to administer the annual supplementary remuneration.

The committee also asked the Commission to launch an impact assessment of the situation in the European audiovisual sector by January 2010, with a view to deciding whether a similar copyright extension would benefit the audiovisual world.

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