The European Parliament has begun preparing its opinion on the European Commission's flawed proposal to extend the term of copyright protection for sound recordings. MEPs have been appointed to act as rapporteurs, who will guide the committees that will recommend how Parliament should vote. Your MEPs need to know that their voters are concerned and paying attention - get in touch with them to let them know your concerns. To help you do this we've prepared a guide to lobbying your MEPs (click to download) and a briefing pack (click to download).
Lobbyists for term extension are making the case to MEPs inside the European Parliament right now. But your voice is stronger than any lobbyist. We can't overstate it: the most important thing you can do to stop term extension is to let your MEPs know your concerns so they an see and hear your side. Be aware also that MEPs can be deluged with information on many topics and appreciate being treated as individuals. If you want to travel to Brussels to meet your MEPs and need help, drop us a line. If you have a story or an interest that we should know about, drop us a line. Now is the time to speak, so use your voice wisely!
We'll keep you updated of major developments, but you can track the proposal on the Parliament website and the details of relevant committees and MEP members are also available. Currently Legal Affairs (JURI) are leading. Three other committees - Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO); Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE); and Culture and Education (CULT), will also help.
In the meantime the Directive is also being discussed by representatives of Member States in the Council of Ministers. And criticism of the Commission's proposal is emerging all over Europe.
The world leading Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property Law in Munich, has released a statement concluding that prolonging the term of protection "cannot be justified from any point of view."
Professor Bernt Hugenholtz, Director of the Institute for Information Law (IViR) in Amsterdam, and one of the Commission's own advisers, has accused Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso of intentionally misleading policy-makers with the proposal.
Pekka Gronow, sound archivist, author of "An International History of the Recording Industry", and adjunct professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Helsinki, has written and concluded that performers benefit very little from the proposed extension ("in most cases the resulting sums will not even cover bank charges").
And of course, ORG have written to the authorities in the UK, explaining exactly why the proposal makes no sense.
Thanks to inyucho for the image.