In a letter to the Times today Europe's leading professionals in the field of intellectual property have explained why the proposal for copyright term extension would harm Europe's creators and consumers:
The simple truth is that copyright extension benefits most those who already hold rights. It benefits incumbent holders of major back-catalogues, be they record companies, ageing rock stars or, increasingly, artists’ estates. It does nothing for innovation and creativity. The proposed Term Extension Directive undermines the credibility of the copyright system. It will further alienate a younger generation that, justifiably, fails to see a principled basis.Following on from last week's EU Commission announcement, they haven't been alone in voicing their concern. Fortunately, the battle isn't lost. You can help campaign for a rational copyright policy in three ways.
Many of us sympathise with the financial difficulties that aspiring performers face. However, measures to benefit performers would look rather different. They would target unreasonably exploitative contracts during the existing term, and evaluate remuneration during the performer’s lifetime, not 95 years.
How you can help 1:
The UK Intellectual Property Office, the government body charged with ensuring balance and fairness in intellectual property, has asked the public and all those with an interest to make sure their voices are heard, and contact the UK-IPO by the end of August. Remember, always be polite and considerate when explaining why term extension concerns you. You can find out which government body in your country is responsible for intellectual property policy here.
How you can help 2:
We've loaded in the full texts of the proposal and the relevant impact assessment. Help us challenge the arguments and point out evidence that disproves their claims. You can leave your comments using our collaborative annotation tool.
How you can help 3:
We need more people to show their support. More than 12,500 people have signed our petition, so tell your friends and help us spread the word across Europe so that you can be heard in Brussels: http://www.soundcopyright.eu/petition.
"Grammophone" gratefully licensed from Nils Pickert.