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May 16, 2007 | Becky Hogge

House of Commons culture committee rules in favour of copyright term extension on sound recordings

The House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport has today released its Fifth Report - an investigation into New Media.

The report endorses performing artists' call for an extension to the term of copyright in sound recordings (although, as Copyweb points out, this slightly confuses rights in performances with rights in sound recordings).

The Committee's logic looks simple:

"Gowers' analysis was thorough and in economic terms may be correct. It gives the impression, however, of having been conducted entirely on economic grounds. We strongly believe that copyright represents a moral right of a creator to choose to retain ownership and control of their own intellectual property. We have not heard a convincing reason why a composer and his or her heirs should benefit from a term of copyright which extends for lifetime and beyond, but a performer should not."

Gowers did couch his report in economic terms. His idea of balance matched the needs of creators against those of consumers and innovators.

But he didn't just do this because he was commissioned by the Treasury. He was reflecting the current position of UK law. Current UK law regards copyright as an economic incentive to create, or, as Gowers puts it "a purely statutory right created for the utilitarian purpose of encouraging literary efforts".

It seems the House of Commons Select Committee is not arguing for an extension to term, it is arguing for a fundamental change to the law, a law for which there are plenty of "convincing reasons" which can all be couched in moral terms.

But it may just as likely be the case that the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture Media and Sport simply doesn't know its law properly.

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Comments (11)

  1. The knowledge revolution « Educationload:
    Oct 13, 2008 at 08:26 PM

    [...] of rightsholders and the forums they capture (most recently, the House of Commons’s select committee on culture, media and sport), intellectual-property law has little to do with morals or natural rights. Yes, creators and [...]

  2. GeekLawyer’s Blog » Parliament screws up music copyright:
    May 17, 2007 at 08:21 PM

    [...] Thanks to Harry Metcalfe for alerting Geeklawyer to the news, greeted with weary ennui, that Parliament is thinking of yielding to the special interest groups and uber rich lobbying power of the music cartel. Despite Gower saying that extending the mechanical copyright term from 50 to 70 years was unjustified on economic grounds the vacuous MPs thought the real issue was morality. [...]

  3. The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » UK Government says no to term extension:
    Jul 24, 2007 at 05:58 PM

    [...] Back in May, we reported on the House of Commons Culture Committee’s misguided decision to recommend that the term of copyright in sound recordings be extended. The recommendation come despite compelling evidence that as well as harming consumers and follow on innovators, such a move would bring no benefit to the majority of UK recording artists and would result in a net loss to the UK economy. It also came couched in language that betrayed a basic misunderstanding of copyright law on behalf of the Committee. [...]

  4. robmyers » The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » House of Commons culture committee rules in favour of copyright term extension on sound recordings:
    May 16, 2007 at 07:44 PM

    [...] The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » House of Commons culture committee rules in favour of copyright term extension on sound recordings [...]

  5. robmyers » links for 2007-05-16:
    May 17, 2007 at 12:23 AM

    [...] The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » House of Commons culture committee rules in favour of copyright term extension on sound recordings IP Maximalism raises its head again in the UK parliament. Write to your MP! (tags: ip-maximalism UK action free-culture) [...]

  6. Quick Follow Ups for Week Ending 5/20/2007 « The Command Line:
    May 20, 2007 at 06:45 PM

    [...] Copyright extensions roll forward regardless [...]

  7. BambisMusings - Musings from a little deer? » House of Commons culture committee rules in favour of copyright term extension on sound recordings:
    Jul 06, 2007 at 11:19 PM

    [...] House of Commons culture committee rules in favour of copyright term extension on sound recordings (OpenRightsGroup.org) after first previously reporting the following: Open Rights Group: “Politicians should listen to facts, not fairytales” (OpenRightsGroup.org) where it was stated: The Open Rights Group today urged MPs to listen to the facts on copyright term extension, and not to the small group of people who seek to distort them by mistaking the copyright regime for a pension scheme. [...]

  8. Ian Brown:
    May 16, 2007 at 01:36 PM

    The CMS committee is chaired by John Whittingdale MP, who at a Conservative party conference fringe meeting on copyright last year spouted the most retrograde nonsense I have heard on the subject for some time. I suspect he embarrassed even the right holders present.

  9. Michael:
    May 16, 2007 at 02:07 PM

    The Committee's current members are listed below. Please write to express your perspective if you're a constituent.

    Mr John Whittingdale MP - Maldon and East Chelmsford - Conservative
    Janet Anderson MP - Rossendale and Darwen - Labour
    Philip Davies MP - Shipley - Conservative
    Mr Nigel Evans MP - Ribble Valley - Conservative
    Paul Farrelly MP - Newcastle-under-Lyme - Labour
    Mr Mike Hall MP - Weaver Valley - Labour
    Alan Keen MP - Feltham and Heston - Labour
    Rosemary McKenna MP - Cumbernauld and Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East - Labour
    Adam Price MP - Carmarthen East and Dinefwr - Plaid Cymru
    Mr Adrian Sanders MP - Torbay - Liberal Democrats
    Helen Southworth MP - Warrington South - Labour

  10. The knowledge Revolution | FreieNetze:
    Jun 06, 2007 at 01:50 PM

    [...] In ihrem Beitrag auf opendemocray gibt Becky Hogge  einen Überblick über aktuelle Entwicklungen und liefert beste Beispiele dafür, dass vielleicht mehr als nur eine kleine Revolution möglich ist. At the heart of that effort will be the very way we define and consider intellectual-property law. Despite the protestations of rightsholders and the forums they capture (most recently, the House of Commons’s select committee on culture, media and sport), intellectual-property law has little to do with morals or natural rights. [...]

  11. The knowledge Revolution | FreieNetze:
    Aug 31, 2007 at 12:59 PM

    [...] In ihrem Beitrag auf opendemocray gibt Becky Hogge  einen Überblick über aktuelle Entwicklungen und liefert beste Beispiele dafür, dass vielleicht mehr als nur eine kleine Revolution möglich ist. At the heart of that effort will be the very way we define and consider intellectual-property law. Despite the protestations of rightsholders and the forums they capture (most recently, the House of Commons’s select committee on culture, media and sport), intellectual-property law has little to do with morals or natural rights. Geschrieben in Medienrecht, Urheberrecht [...]



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