April 30, 2007 | Becky Hogge

Open Rights Group: "Politicians should listen to facts, not fairytales"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

30 April 2007

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.

The digital rights organisation was speaking out against term extension after the release of Copyright Gap, an album of tracks compiled by the copyright collecting society Phonographic Performance Ltd and targeted at MPs. The compilation is an attempt to get MPs to lobby to extend the copyright term for sound recordings in Europe, from 50 years to 95 years.

“It would be a sad day for democracy if the people we elect to run our country put more weight on a nostalgic compilation CD than on an independent economic study commissioned by the Treasury”, said Becky Hogge, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group.

She was referring to a study commissioned by Andrew Gowers and his team during the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property last year. After rigorous economic analysis, the review recommended that the European Commission retain the length of protection on sound recordings and performers’ rights at 50 years. At the time, all of Gowers’ recommendations received the endorsement of the UK government.

Despite the evidence, however, some recording artists and the heirs to their estates persist in framing the debate as a fight to secure “pensions”. “But this is simply wrong”, states Dave Rowntree, drummer with chart-topping band Blur. “Copyright is not a pension scheme. A pension is something you contribute to out of income you earn in your working life”.

Dave Rowntree and Becky Hogge are both available for interview. Please email michael [AT] openrightsgroup.org in the first instance.

About the Open Rights Group The Open Rights Group is a digital rights advocacy group based in the UK. It aims to increase awareness of digital rights issues, to help foster grassroots activity and to preserve and extend civil liberties in the digital age.

For more information about term extension, please see our briefing pack: http://www.releasethemusic.org/press/briefing-pack/

To read the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property visit: http://tinyurl.com/ybyk6h

To read the Review of the Economic Evidence Relating to an Extension of Copyright in Sound Recordings (produced by the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law University of Cambridge) visit: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/537/D3/gowers_cipilreport.pdf