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It's been dubbed by the media as "Cliff Richard's Law", and now he and his fellow musicians are about to see the change to copyright duration in sound recordings that they pushed for finally coming into force.
From 1 November 2013, The Copyright and Duration of Rights in Performances Regulations 2013 will come into force, implementing the provisions of Directive 2011/77/EU which extends the term of copyright in sound recordings from 50 to 70 years. The change comes after years of political wrangling and will mean that performers will be entitled to receive income for an additional 20 years. Additional measures have also been included to improve performers' revenue.
Extension from 50 to 70 years
One song can contain a number of different rights, for example copyright in both the music score and in the lyrics, both of which last for 70 years after the death of the author. In contrast, copyright in the actual sound recording, however, and the duration of a performers' rights in the recording only last for 50 years. The new Directive extends both of these terms from 50 years to 70 years, therefore narrowing the gap.
While some critics have argued that many musicians will see little benefit, a study by the European Commission ("EC") has found that extension of this term will give average performers additional income ranging from €150 to €2,000 per year, mostly from airplay royalties. Although these sums will be fairly insignificant to many of the big names in the music industry, they will be considerable for many other musicians, particularly session musicians. The EC also points out that many performers start their career in their 20s and that with life expectancy increasing, a performer who lives into his 80s and beyond would not be able to continue to benefit from the recording at what the EC points out to be a particularly vulnerable time of life.
It should be noted, however, that the extension will only apply to sound recordings that are created after 1 November, or that are still in copyright protection on 31 October 2013. It will not therefore bring a sound recording back into copyright where this protection has already expired after the 50 years.
Additional remuneration measures
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