LONDON (Reuters) - Artists welcomed a European decision to extend copyright for recorded music to 70 from 50 years, after a years-long campaign by performers including Paul McCartney and Cliff Richard who faced their rights expiring in their lifetime.
The move will help the music industry claw back some of the revenues lost as it has struggled to respond to a digital revolution that has allowed widespread music piracy on the Internet with growing online distribution.
“At a time when certain interests seek to weaken copyright for their own purposes, this sends a vital message that the right of creators to earn a living is taken seriously by the EU,” the Independent Music Companies’ Association said.
Global recorded music sales fell 9 percent last year to $15.9 billion.
“The European Union has finally acted to give performers and musicians in Europe a longer term of protection to ensure that they benefit from their performances, at least in their lifetime,” said former ABBA singer-songwriter Bjorn Ulvaeus. “Now I won’t have to see ABBA being used in a TV commercial.”
“This is a great step forward for artists,” said U2’s manager Paul McGuinness. “Nearly 40,000 artists petitioned for this change and delivered a loud and clear message that politicians have taken heed of.”
The step will bring performers’ rights more into line with those of songwriters and authors, and also take the European copyright term closer to the U.S. term of 95 years.
European Union member states will have two years to incorporate the provisions of the directive adopted on Monday into their national laws.
Reporting by Georgina Prodhan