Copyright extension: Seems our MPs haven’t been doing their homework

Update 2: Nick Pollard says Stephen Williams MP has responded to his letter by agreeing to take his name off the EDM. Well done, Nick (and Mr Williams MP). Anyone else had a response? Let us know so we can strike their names off the list below.

Update: 7 more MPs have signed the EDM this week. If you are a constituent of one of these members, please write to explain why we should all oppose this copyright extension.

  • Alan Simpson – Nottingham South – Labour
  • Janet Dean – Burton – Labour
  • Jeffrey Donaldson – Lagan Valley – Democratic Unionist Party
  • Frank Doran – Aberdeen North – Labour
  • Pete Wishart – Perth and Perthshire – SNP
  • Alasdair McDonnell – Belfast South – Social Democratic and Labour Party
  • Colin Burgon – Elmet – Labour Party

Here we go again.

Top-level reviews of intellectual property regulation reject proposals to extend the length of copyright protection for producers and performers. An independent economic study grounds the Gowers Review’s recommendation that “The European Commission should retain the length of protection on sound recordings and performers’ rights at 50 years.” This recommendation, endorsed by the British government in December 2006, is affirmed by a report authored for the European Commission that rejects in even stronger terms proposals for extension.

Yet certain politicians appear to be neglecting their IP studies. Seventy MPs have now signed an Early Day Motion calling for extension: perhaps they’re simply studying from the same textbooks as Mick, Katie and Cliff? Please write to tell your MP that term extension will neither benefit starving musicians nor guarantee profits for the recording industry.

We must remind politicians to debate this issue on the basis of evidence – which points firmly against extension – rather than nostalgia. It is particularly important to write if you are a constituent of one of these 70 MPs:

David Amess Mark Durkan David Lepper
David Anderson Bill Etherington Elfyn Llwyd
Janet Anderson Mark Field Peter Luff
Joe Benton Michael Jabez Foster Judy Mallaber
David S Borrow Hywel Francis David Marshall
Peter Bottomley Mike Gapes John McDonnell
Colin Breed Ian Gibson Jim McGovern
Vincent Cable Nigel Griffiths Ann McKechin
Martin Caton John Grogan Rosemary McKenna
David Chaytor Mike Hancock Alan Meale
Michael Clapham Dai Havard Doug Naysmith
Tom Clarke John Hemming Edward O'Hara
David Clelland Doug Henderson Mike Penning
Harry Cohen Jimmy Hood John Robertson
Derek Conway Kelvin Hopkins Bob Russell
Frank Cook George Howarth Dennis Skinner
Jeremy Corbyn Brian Iddon Gavin Strang
Ann Cryer Glenda Jackson David Taylor
Ian Davidson Brian Jenkins Desmond Turner
Philip Davies Lynne Jones Rudi Vis
Jim Dobbin Barbara Keeley Betty Williams
Frank Dobson Alan Keen Stephen Williams
David Drew Greg [R] Knight Jenny Willott

If you need fuel for your letters, watch the videos (or listen to the audio) from our Release the Music debate (thanks, Tim!). The first part is a fantastic speech by Jonathan Zittrain, which explains this issue and other aspects of copyright reform in clear terms. The second is a panel debate, featuring representatives from the music industry as well as an academic and recording artist.

We’ll be updating our Release the Music briefing pack before taking the campaign to Europe later this year. If any readers are excited to get involved, please drop me a line so we can coordinate our efforts.