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Intellectual Property: Commission adopts forward-looking package

European Commission - IP/08/1156   16/07/2008

Other available languages: FR DE

IP/08/1156

Brussels, 16 July 2008

Intellectual Property: Commission adopts forward-looking package

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
The proposal on term extension envisages extending the term of protection for recorded performances and the record itself from 50 to 95 years. In this way, the proposal would benefit both the performer and the record producer. It also signals that Europe values their creative contribution.

The extended term would benefit performers who could continue earning money over an additional period. A 95-year term would bridge the income gap that performers face when they turn 70, just as their early performances recorded in their 20s would lose protection. They will continue to be eligible for broadcast remuneration, remuneration for performances in public places, such as bars and discotheques, and compensation payments for private copying of their performances.

The extended term would also benefit the record producers. It would generate additional revenue from the sale of records in shops and on the Internet. This should allow producers to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment which is characterised by a fast decline in physical sales (- 30% over the past five yeas) and the comparatively slow growth of online sales revenue.
In addition, when it concerns a musical composition, which contains the contributions of several authors, the Commission proposes a uniform way of calculating the term of protection. Music is overwhelmingly co-written. For example, in an opera, there are often different authors to the music and to the lyrics. Moreover, in musical genres such as jazz, rock and pop music, the creative process is often collaborative in nature. According to the proposed rule the term of protection of a musical composition shall expire 70 years after the death of the last surviving author, be it the author of the lyrics or the composer of the music.

Green Paper on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy

In its review of the Single Market[1] 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.
The Green paper focuses not only on the dissemination of knowledge for research, science and education but also on the current legal framework in the area of copyright and the possibilities it can currently offer to a variety of users (social institutions, museums, search engines, disabled people, teaching establishments).

More information on Intellectual Property is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/copyright/term-protection/term-protection_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/copyright/copyright-infso/copyright-infso_en.htm

MEMO/08/508


[1] COM 2007 724 final of 20.11.2007 - A single market for 21st century Europe


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