U.K. rebuffs EU copyright vote

Government reiterates support for 70-year term

LONDON -- David Lammy, the U.K. minister of state for intellectual property, has reaffirmed the British government's position on term extension by refusing to accept the European Parliament's legal affairs committee ruling on a 95-year copyright term for music recordings.

The vote went through Thursday, approving a European Commission proposal to increase the copyright term from 50 years to 95 years. The U.K. government has only recently shifted its public position from maintaining the status quo to moving to a 70-year term.

In a statement, Lammy effectively reiterated that support for a 70-year term for music recordings. The European ruling will ultimately be voted on by the Council of Ministers, in which Germany and France are supporters of the 95-year term.

"While the U.K. believes that performers should be protected throughout their lifetime a period of 95 years goes beyond what is needed to achieve this aim," Lammy said.

The minister also questioned the benefits to performers in the committee's report, but welcome the so-called 'clean slate' amendment. The committee amended the original text to prevent the use of previous contractual agreements by labels to deduct money from the additional royalties.

Lammy added: "The U.K. strongly believes that any proposal on extension of term must deliver substantial benefits to all performers.

"Whilst we do not believe the current proposal delivers sufficient benefits to performers, the introduction of the clean slate provision is a step in the right direction."