Monday, December 15, 2008

Increase in copyright duration in sound recordings....

Now this may be a bit late (i.e. everyone else seems to have reported it on Friday or in fact Thursday in the case of IPKat) but I had an exam so I'm a bit late.

Anyway this is in regards to the extension of copyright term for sound recordings. Regular IPers (I think i've coined a new term) will be aware of the push to extend the copyright term for sound recordings from 50 to 70 years, well actually to "something like 70 years" according to Culture Secretary Andy Burnham. To quote Alan Partridge (a favourite of IP Freely) "that's disconcertigly vague" but in all fairness he is a politician.

Mr Burnham says: "An extension to match more closely a performer’s expected lifetime, perhaps something like 70 years, for example, given that most people make their best work in their 20s and 30s,".

But what seems like the majority of commentators (and IP Freely agrees with them) disagree with Mr Burnham. The legendary Andrew Gowers (the man behind the Gowers review 2006) seems particularly against such a change. In an interview with Out Law last year Mr Gowers stated that far from extending the period: "I could have made a case for reducing it based on the economic arguments," and that "We certainly considered it, and if you look at the report that came from the academics that we commissioned to examine the arguments and examine the evidence they also argued very robustly that 50 years could be arguably more than enough".

In today's Financial Times Mr Gower responded to Mr Burnham's proposals: "You might just as well say sportspeople have a moral case to a pension at 30," he wrote. "All the respectable research shows that copyright extension has high costs to the public and negligible benefits to the creative community." he said.

In summary then, Mr Burnham is none too popular!

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