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EU official wants 95yr copyright, media levy reform

updated 01:30 pm EST, Thu February 14, 2008

EU 95yr Copyright and Levy

The European Union should almost double the length of music copyrights and to reform media levies, EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy argues. The official contends that many musicians, particularly older artists, are in danger of losing a reliable source of income and proposes the measures as a protective option. The current 50-year limit on copyright in particular needs to be extended to 95 years, McCreevy suggests. Without the safeguard in place, both regular band members and session performers could find themselves without guaranteed royalties, which often serve as retirement income.

Critics have frequently opposed extended copyright by claiming that it reduces the creative liberties to cover or sample old songs. Many also believe that very long copyright periods often protect a work well past the lifespans of most artists.

McCreevy adds, however, that he is willing to reform media levies across the continent, which charge buyers in most European nations an additional fee for devices that can be used for legal copies of songs, such as writable CDs, hard drives, and portable media players. While unlikely to cancel the fees altogether, the EU statesman hopes to reexamine the current scope of the law and potentially reduce or eliminate fees for more general-purpose devices, many of which face the fee but are not primarily intended for music.

In affected European countries, the fees often apply to media-capable phones or to printers with storage and add between 2.56 ($3.74) and 10 ($14.6) to a device such as an 8GB iPod nano depending on the country. The extra charges have often spurred electronics makers in these regions to ask for a reduction or complete elimination of the fees, which can contribute significantly to the price of many electronics devices.

McCreevy has not offered a timetable for any changes to EU law, but promises to write legislation soon.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. bhuot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2003

    0

    permanently lose

    The problem is that most people sell their copyright to big corporations which in turn take the vast majority of the income. Just as it works in books, this long a copyright greatly increases the chances that the work will not last past the person's lifetime if there ever is a dip in its popularity or it is lost in its unprotected form or the company goes out of business and someone buys it who doesn't care about some of the copyrights. This has already happened with software patents and copyrights, do we want this to happen to all our media? Luckily the most important creative works were created long ago and were never copyrighted. If only the translations had no copyright as well.

  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    buh bye public domain

    it's going the way of fair use... the death of a thousand cuts.

  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    or rather

    there will one day be nothing at all that passes into the public domain, only works which passed into PD before the rise of large media corporations.

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999

    0

    charlie...

    As a former Irish Minister for Finance, Charlie knows a lot more about horses than he does about copyright and coming from a political party that is famous for being in the thrall of big business, there's no reason to believe that he's acting any differently this time. Think neo-conservative Republican if you don't know anything about Irish politics.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999

    0

    Re: permanently lose

    Agreed. I would agree to a 95 year copyright only for the original copyright holder. If the right is transferred, then it should be significantly less

  1. notehead

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    as a composer...

    who exclusively owns all copyrights to some published music (coming to iTunes soon), I am of course glad for any income that my properties generate. The choice to sell any or all rights to them is mine, and I urge anyone who has an opinion on how I make that choice to jam it deeply up their colon. If I fail to strike a deal that gets me in one stroke nearly all the value I could possibly get from the propertly on my own over an extended period of time, then that's too bad for me. (And it's still none of your business.)

    That said, I think 50 years is plenty of time for copyright ownership, after which a musical composition ought to become public domain. The number of pieces for which this would be financially relevant is miniscule. In my opinion, society would benefit more by making 50-year-old music more accessible to the public than by maintaining copyrights as private property, and most composers and songwriters who are alive 50 years after they create a given work would surely prefer to have a potential bump in the attention given their work than to have it drift further into obscurity.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    0

    as a copyright owner

    you should be allowed to re-up. I don't think increasing the duration of the copyright to 95 years will do anything but prevent works getting to public domain at a reasonable rate.

    50 year initial + transferable 25 year re-ups. The re-ups would be available for family or copyright holder. That's my plan.

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999

    0

    Lobbyists...

    This wouldn't even be coming to parliament unless they had been lobbied to do so. Were they lobbied by individual musicians or some composers collective? I doubt it. This is another agenda that ultimately best serves the music companies and not individual artists. This is just a different slant on the same old copyright, intellectual property and piracy chestnut. Who knows what additional trojans they could sneak into EU wide legislation that is ostensibly for protecting the artist. Be careful what you wish for!

  1. bhuot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2003

    0

    don't care

    "who exclusively owns all copyrights to some published music (coming to iTunes soon), I am of course glad for any income that my properties generate. The choice to sell any or all rights to them is mine, and I urge anyone who has an opinion on how I make that choice to jam it deeply up their colon. If I fail to strike a deal that gets me in one stroke nearly all the value I could possibly get from the propertly on my own over an extended period of time, then that's too bad for me. (And it's still none of your business.) " I am a creative too. I write books that I keep the copyright and give away with a very generous Creative Commons License. I am telling people about this route, because most artists know little about copyright law or at least this particular aspect of it. I really couldn't care less what you do with what you produce. Besides my writings the only thing written recently that I am interested in is translations of ancient texts. Keep your songs - I have no interest in them.

  1. apple4ever

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2001

    0

    Awwww

    Poor writers, composers, musicians, and other people who will actually have to KEEP WORKING instead of being lazy and living off of one "work."

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