July 24, 2007 | Becky Hogge

UK Government says no to term extension

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.

Today the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have responded to the Culture Committee, and the good news is they've rejected the recommendation to extend term. From the official response:

"The Government appreciates the work of the Committee and the deliberation it has given to thissubject. As the Committee noted, the independent Gowers Review also considered this issue in detail and recommended that the European Commission retain a term of protection for sound recordings and performers of 50 years. The Review undertook a detailed analysis of all the arguments put forward, including the moral arguments regarding the treatment of performers. It concluded that an extension would not benefit the majority of performers, most of whom have contractual relationships requiring their royalties be paid back to the record label. It also concluded that an extension would have a negative impact on the balance of trade and that it would not increase incentives to create new works. Furthermore, it considered not just the impact on the music industry but on the economy as a whole, and concluded that an extension would lead to increased costs to industry, such as those who use music – whether to provide ambience in a shop or restaurant or for TV or radio broadcasting – and to consumers who would have to pay royalties for longer. In reaching such conclusions, the Review took account of the question of parity with other countries such as the US, and concluded that, although royalties were payable for longer there, the total amount was likely to be similar – or possibly less – as there were fewer revenue streams available under the US system.

"An independent report, commissioned by the European Commission as part of its ongoing work in reviewing the copyright acquis, also considered the issue of term. It reached the same overall conclusion on this matter as the Gowers Review.

"Taking account of the findings of these reports, which carefully considered the impact on the economy as a whole, and without further substantive evidence to the contrary, it does not seem appropriate for the Government to press the Commission for action at this stage."

You can download the full response here. It's worth a read in full, as the Committee's report, on the whole and apart from the recommendations regarding copyright term, made some good recommendations for New Media and DCMS's responses are generally good too.

As the BPI point out in today's press, this means that they will have to take their fight for copyright term extension to Europe without the support of the UK government. This is significant, since the UK government is likely to have a disproportionately loud voice on this issue both because it is home to the most lucrative recording industry in Europe and because it has taken the time to review this issue in detail.

Comments (8)

  1. Lajoes:
    Mar 19, 2008 at 04:45 PM

    Now you know why hackers and P2P sites are so valuable.

    Why are the the music and movie industries able to bribe and buy government officials to pass "protectionist laws" to protect their corrupt and greedy business model while the rest of us "have to joing the global economy" (i.e., lower our standard of living)?

  2. The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » Copyright commotions 101: Free event at LSE next month:
    Feb 15, 2008 at 06:35 PM

    [...] UK has already come out against copyright term extension. To find out why copyright term extension is a non-starter for the UK’s creative economy, [...]

  3. lajoes:
    Mar 19, 2008 at 06:29 PM

    New Western Digital Drive Blocks File-Sharing

    Hey, has anyone heard anything new about this effort to censor us, the PC User, that appeared on PC World.com?

    Digital Rights technology built onto some My Book drives restricts users from sharing certain files.

    Jonny Evans, Macworld UK
    Sunday, December 16, 2007 10:00 AM PST


  4. Ian Brown:
    Jul 24, 2007 at 09:42 PM

    Government responses like this make campaigning for sane public policy worthwhile :) GO ORG! (As American undergrads would say ;)

  5. Sam Morris:
    Jul 25, 2007 at 10:29 AM

    Interesting that the Reuters article parrots statements from the BPI, but does not quote any of the actual response from the government, including the reasons _why_ the copyright term will not be extended.

  6. The Musings of Harry » Blog Archive » No term extension in the UK:
    Jul 25, 2007 at 11:53 AM

    [...] Huzzah! ORG reports that the Dept. of Culture, Media & Sport have rejected the HoC Culture Committee’s recommendation to extend copyright terms on sound recordings. [...]

  7. robmyers » links for 2007-07-24:
    Jul 25, 2007 at 12:20 AM

    [...] The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » UK Government says no to term extension “Today the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have responded to the Culture Committee, and the good news is they’ve rejected the recommendation to extend term.” (tags: ip-maximalism free-culuture government term-extension org) [...]

  8. credit card lawyer:
    Mar 19, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    well may be and i hope that this will bring some good reforms