Report says ‘No’ to copyright reform

Gowers advises U.K. government to keep term the same

LONDON — The U.K. government was advised Wednesday that the copyright period on sound recordings should not be extended.

The intellectual property review, conducted by former Financial Times editor Andrew Gowers and delivered to the U.K. Treasury, ignores the music industry’s pleas that the copyright term should be extended to 95 years from the present 50.

Gowers said the 50-year period should be adopted throughout Europe. “Getting the balance right is vital to driving innovation, securing investment and stimulating competition,” he said.

Responding to the disappointing news, stars such as Eric Clapton, Mick Hucknall, Kiri Te Kanawa, Simon Rattle and U2, as well as numerous session musicians, singers and orchestral players, urged the government to reject Gowers’ proposals and grant a copyright extension.

“It is simply not acceptable that within his or her own lifetime, a musician can have their work taken off them and exploited without them receiving anything in return,” said Keith Harris, director of performer affairs at royalties collection org PPL. “The Gowers Review is just one input into this debate. Musicians are determined to take their fight all the way.”

However, Chancellor Gordon Brown gave some cheer to musicians when, in his pre-budget report to Parliament, he pledged to tighten the penalties for copying and piracy.

The copyright in a sound recording in the U.K. is protected for just 50 years vs. 95 in the U.S. Meanwhile, songwriters in the U.K. — as opposed to performers — have their work protected for their entire lives plus 70 years.