EU recordings granted 20-year copyright extension, old guard kept from heading to the poor house

EU recordings granted 20-year copyright extension, old guard kept from heading to the poor house

Artists, producers, and label executives across the EU are praising a new ruling that extends copyright protection for sound recordings from the existing 50 years to 70 years. The new regulation also sets up a fund for session players, creates an ‘out’ for artists whose recorded music isn’t properly made available for sale by labels, and establishes a ‘clean slate’ clause that doesn’t punish artists whose recording sales don’t cover their up-front advances.

One argument for the extension purports that the expiration of upcoming copyrights on recordings by artists whose songs are more or less part of the public consciousness — The Beatles being the most obvious example — would prevent advertisers from supporting new and upcoming artists by relying on highly popular yet copyright-free material to sell their products and services. One imagines that Apple would still lean heavily on the indie community to sell its phones and MP3 players, but in a post-1960s copyright expiration world, anything could be possible.

In other words, Paul McCartney is no longer expected to begin his rapid descent into poverty. No word yet on the state of Ringo Starr, though one hopes he’s doing just fine in his Octopus garden.

• The Beatles: http://bit.ly/p8DEoc

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