Brussels, 16 July 2008
The European Commission today adopted two initiatives in the area of copyright. First, the Commission proposes to align the copyright term for performers with that applicable to authors, in this way bridging the income gap that performers face toward the end of their lives. Secondly, the Commission proposes to fully harmonise the copyright term that applies to co-written musical compositions. In parallel, the Commission also adopted a Green Paper on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy. The consultation document focuses on topics that appear relevant for the development of a modern economy, driven by the rapid dissemination of knowledge and information. Both of these initiatives comprise a unique mix of social, economic and cultural measures aimed at maintaining Europe as a prime location for cultural creators in the entertainment and knowledge sectors.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "The copyright measures adopted today should underline that we take a holistic approach when it comes to intellectual property. The proposal on term extension has a strong social component and the Green Paper is deeply embedded in the overall societal and knowledge context". "I am committed to concentrate all necessary efforts to ensure that performers have a decent income and that there will be a European-based music industry in the years to come," the Commissioner continued specifically in relation to the term proposal.
Term of protection
Green Paper on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy
In its review of the Single Market the Commission highlighted the need to promote free movement of knowledge and innovation as the "Fifth freedom" in the single market. The Green Paper will now focus on how research, science and educational materials are disseminated to the public and whether knowledge is circulating freely in the internal market. The consultation document will also look at the issue of whether the current copyright framework is sufficiently robust to protect knowledge products and whether authors and publishers are sufficiently encouraged to create and disseminate electronic versions of these products.
This consultation is targeted at everyone who wants to advance their knowledge and educational levels by using the Internet. Wide dissemination of knowledge contributes to more inclusive and cohesive societies, fosters equal opportunities in line with the priorities of the renewed Social Agenda.
With this Green Paper, the Commission plans to have a structured debate on
the long-term future of copyright policy in the knowledge intensive areas. In
particular, the Green Paper is an attempt to structure the copyright debate as
it relates to scientific publishing, the digital preservation of Europe's
cultural heritage, orphan works, consumer access to protected works and the
special needs for the disabled to participate in the information society. The
Green Paper points to future challenges in the fields of scientific and
scholarly publishing, search engines and special derogations for libraries,
researchers and disabled people.
More information on Intellectual Property is available at:
 COM 2007 724 final of 20.11.2007 - A single market for 21st century Europe