Copyright report sparks discord

U.K. music industry had pushed for longer term

LONDON — The U.K. music industry has responded with disappointment at claims that a soon-to-be publishing independent report will recommend that the government does not extend the copyright term in Britain.

Several reports in the U.K. press suggest that the findings of the treasury-commissioned “Gowers Review of Intellectual Property” have been leaked, ahead of their official announcement in Chancellor Gordon Brown’s pre-budget report on Dec. 6.

The U.K. record industry has been lobbying for the government to support an extension of the term of copyright on sound recordings from 50 to 95 years – in line with the term in the U.S.

Peter Jamieson, chairman of trade body the British Phonographic Industry, said: “The BPI has not yet seen the Gowers report, but if the media leaks are correct it would appear that the Gowers Review has missed a great opportunity to support the U.K.’s music industry — both the musicians who make a living out of music and the companies who invest in them.

“But it is really the responses of the Treasury, (the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport) and not the recommendations of an independent report that we are most interested in. It’s in the government’s power to ignore such a recommendation and they should do so.”

Going on the offensive, Jamieson added: “There can be no rationale for discriminating against performing artists — a vital part of the creative mix — nor can it be possible to justify disadvantaging Britain and Europe in the global music market. The sound recording is as important a copyright as musical composition and film, and deserves a similar lifespan.”

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