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IP/09/627

Brussels, 23 April 2009

Commission welcomes Parliament vote on copyright term

The Commission welcomes the European Parliament's endorsement of a proposal to extend term of copyright protection for performers and record producers from 50 to 70 years. The Commission is also pleased that the Parliament's text has further strengthened the position of performers by introducing a new claim for session players amounting to 20% of record labels' offline and online sales revenue. According to the proposal, performers can also recover their copyright after 50 years, should the producer fail to market the sound recording. Finally, a newly introduced 'clean slate' would prevent record producers from making deductions to the royalties they pay to featured performers.

Internal Market Commissioner Charlie Mc Creevy commented: "For me it is an issue of principle that all creators are decently rewarded, authors and performers alike. Talking to performers, not the superstars, made me realise that something needed to be done. Therefore, I am especially pleased to note that the session players' fund has come through the legislative process intact".

"The proposal voted today is far from a simple term extension. For the first time ever, there will be a scheme whereby artists participate in the record labels' sales revenue. This is truly innovative. Most importantly, the 20% set aside is not revenue that accrues to a few superstars; this revenue is exclusively for the thousands of anonymous session players", the Commissioner added.

The proposal voted in Parliament today contains four main planks: Firstly, an extension of the term of copyright protection for performers and record producers from 50 to 70 years; secondly, a new claim for session players amounting to 20% of record labels' offline and online sales revenue; thirdly, a 'use-it-or-lose-it' provision that allows performers to recover their rights after 50 years, should the producer fail to market the sound recording; and fourthly, a so-called 'clean slate' which prevents record producers from making deductions to the royalties they pay to featured performers.

The text also contains a provision inviting the Commission to conduct a separate impact assessment on audiovisual performers and to come forward with appropriate proposals in the course of 2010. The Commission is confident that it can deliver the impact assessment within the time foreseen by the Parliament.

In the plenary debate leading up to the vote Commissioner Mc Creevy declared his intention to facilitate the collective management of broadcasters' interactive TV and radio services. In this respect the Commission will take appropriate measures to facilitate efficient systems of collective management. As a first step, the Commission will institute a dialogue between the parties aiming to establish efficient licensing models.


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