Last day to tell your MEPs: Do not enclose the cultural commons

Wednesday is the last full day to lobby your MEPs in Strasbourg before this Thursday’s vote on copyright term extension.

A cross party platform of MEPs have tabled an amendment to reject the proposal to extend the term of sound copyrights beyond 50 years. Contact your MEPs in Strasbourg and ask them to support the rejection amendment tabled by Sharon Bowles, Andrew Duff and Olle Schmidt ALDE, Guy Bono, PSE, Christofer Fjellner, Zuzana Roithova, Anna Ibrisagic EPP.

Find your MEPs here

As the Financial Times said this week: Do not enclose the cultural commons!

say no to copyright extension

Amendment by Sharon Bowles, Andrew Duff and Olle Schmidt ALDE, Guy Bono, PSE, Christofer Fjellner, Zuzana Roithova, Anna Ibrisagic EPP

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the term of protection of copyright and related rights (COM(2008)0464 – C6-0281/2008 – 2008/0157(COD))

Proposal for a directive – REJECTION

Text proposed by the Commission Amendment

Rejects the Commission Proposal.


The draft Directive is poorly conceived and disproportionate. The Commission claims that the measure is needed in order to benefit poor performers. However, the proposed regulation and procedure is complicated and over-bureaucratic. The biggest beneficiaries will be the four largest record companies. Individual performers will only receive very small amounts each.

Performers could be helped much more effectively by regulating copyright contracts and collecting societies, by setting up appropriate social security and insurance schemes, and by reconsidering remuneration rights and license tariffs.

The draft Directive leaves a large number of questions unanswered. Additional impact assessments are needed to see which measures are best suited to help those performers really in need, to limit the negative impact on consumers and jobs, and to establish if regulation is best done at state or EU level. In these circumstances, it is not wise to proceed to make the long-term permanent changes proposed.

Some of the particular problems are:

The extension of copyright to 95 or even 70 years will increase the revenue of trust funds of deceased performers instead of living performers.

Many performers cannot produce proof for the performances they participated in during the past decades. It then becomes difficult to assess their rights to payments.

The proposed regulation could cause legal uncertainty for all existing audiovisual productions as it will be unclear if the material used is subject to sound copyright.

There is a risk that all material that is not commercially viable will not be marketed by the copyright owners and will become inaccessible for public use.

Small record companies currently publishing copyright-free material risk going bankrupt.