The European Commission published a Draft Directive on the term of copyright for sound recordings on 16 July 2008. The Directive proposes an extension in the term for sound recordings and performers from 50 to 95 years.
Scots Law News readers will recall from earlier posts (Nos 747 and 765) that something similar is proposed in the Private Member's Bill introduced in the Westminster Parliament by Pete Wishart, SNP MP and ex-member of Gaelic folk-rock group Runrig on 17 February 2008. A check on the Westminster website reveals that the Copyright in Sound Recordings and Performers' Rights (Term Extension) Bill appears to have made no progress since its First Reading. Presumably it will be allowed to lapse while the consultation on the draft Directive proceeds.
Additional measures in the Directive which look to deflect some of the criticism that its main provision is bound to attract include:
* a proposal that record producers set aside 20% of all revenues for a fund for session artists and;
* that if a record label is not releasing a track commercially that is over 50 years old, then the right in the sound recording will cease to exist and performers can request that the rights in the performance revert to them – a 'use it or lose it' clause;
* a proposal to align the term of protection for the music and lyrics in a musical composition.