International Recording Association Criticizes U.K. Copyright Proposal, Calls For Extended Protection - InformationWeek

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12/12/2006
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International Recording Association Criticizes U.K. Copyright Proposal, Calls For Extended Protection

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said that U.K. recording artists should get equal copyright protection to their American colleagues.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is criticizing a proposal that the U.K. government provide shorter-term copyright protections to British artists and producers than their American counterparts.

The proposal, recommended in a recent report by consultant Andrew Gowers, calls for shorter copyright protections than record producers and performers currently have in the United States and other countries. The U.K. treasury department requested the report on intellectual property rights.

"Equalization of copyright term is the issue which goes to the heart of the government's claim to value the British music industry," IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said through a prepared statement. "It is illogical and discriminatory that British artists and producers should enjoy less copyright protection than their counterparts internationally."

Kennedy said the IFPI is urging the government to reject Gowers' proposal, which fails to lengthen the 50-year copyright protection currently afforded to artists and producers.

In the United Kingdom, songwriters and composers have lifetime protection, plus an additional 70 years. In the United States, copyright protection for producers and artists lasts 95 years. Those protections provide income to aging musicians and some security to their heirs.

"We will carry on pressing for parity and fairness," Kennedy said. "Granting copyright parity would be a simple and cost-free way to improve the investment climate for British music, maintain Britain's creative edge and end discrimination against British artists and producers."

The IFPI is also critical of Gowers' suggestion that the government help ISPs and copyright owners agree on a way to remove users who engage in piracy. Gowers suggested that the government consider legislation if that approach does not produce results by 2007.

The IFPI applauded Gowers' call to give law enforcement authorities increased power and to ensure that damages in piracy cases are high enough to be "effective and dissuasive."

Finally, the group said it welcomed Gowers' proposal to clarify the legalities of format shifting and looks forward to working with the government on how to address the issue.

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