U.K. music biz pushing for c'right extension

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LONDON -- Just hours after the U.K. government poured cold water on hopes for an extension to the term of copyright on sound recordings, the U.K. music industry has vowed to push ahead with its campaign.

In a show of solidarity, representatives from the BPI, the IFPI, PPL/VPL, Musicians' Union, AIM, plus a string of artists responded via a single statement to the government's "negative verdict" over the term of copyright on sound recordings.

"We will continue to put forward the strong case for fair copyright in Europe," BPI CEO Geoff Taylor said. "It is profoundly disappointing that we are forced to do so without the backing of the British government."

Fran Nevrkla, chairman and CEO of collecting society PPL/VPL admitted the government's response was "massive disappointment," and slammed the move as discrimination against musicians and labels.

"This announcement effectively makes all performers and record companies second class citizens in the copyright environment," Nevrkla commented. "This deliberate continuing discrimination is hard to understand because it cannot be justified."

Nevrkla's comments were echoed by Alison Wenham, chair and CEO of AIM. "It seems unjust to deny U.K. musicians and record labels the same lifetime benefits from their work that other creators enjoy in both the music industry, and in other creative industries," Wenham noted.

"The huge enjoyment derived by fans, of our great legacy of recordings, will cease to earn the artists who made them a penny. This has to be wrong while they are still often reliant on those earnings".

The Who frontman Roger Daltrey also took aim at the government's response. "Thousands of musicians have no pensions and rely on royalties to support themselves," he said. "These people helped to create one of Britain's most successful industries, poured money into the British economy and enriched people's lives. They are not asking for a handout, just a fair reward for their creative endeavors."

Under its chairman John Whittingdale, the CMS Select Committee in May recommended that the government apply its influence on the European Commission to extend the copyright term from the current 50 years, to at least 70 years.

The government, however, this morning announced it had sided with the Treasury-commissioned Gowers Review, published in December, which found that the 50-year term should be retained.

In today's response document, the government said, "it does not seem appropriate for the government to press the Commission for action at this stage."
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