Wednesday 26 November 2008

EU institutions discuss protection of copyright for performance on phonograms

Discussions are going on between the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament whether to prolong the period of protection of copyright for performances on phonograms from 50 to 95 years.

As explained in a Council report for the next Competetiveness Council on 01 and 02 December published on Monday (here; PDF) the changes in the copyright directive (2006/116/EC) were proposed by the Commission in July 2008 (here). The goal of the changes is to "introduce a uniform method of calculating the term of protection which applies to a musical composition with words".

On the basis of this proposal, the Working Party on Intellectual Property (Copyright) of the Council was discussing the issue.

On 23 October 2008, the French EU Council Presidency proposed a compromise, but the EU Commission rejected several arguments brought forward by member states in a non-paper, where it is inter alia said that:
  • Payments by broadcasters, bars and discotheques would not increase
  • Retail prices would not increase
  • A term extension would benefit overwhelmingly European performers
Afterwards, the Council Working Party has considered the topic again on 18 November 2008 on the basis of a revised compromise proposal by the French Council Presidency.

The European Parliament "has [also] been consulted on the same proposal under the co-decision procedure but has not yet given its opinion at first reading. That opinion is expected in February 2009."

Without going into too many details, this inter-institutional discussion looks like many others on copyright before, between the poles of free competition vs. protectionism, interests of established artists vs. interest of new artists etc.