Copyright Term Extension


A handful of major record labels are trying to break a fifty year-old promise. Musicians and their fans will not be the only victims.

Copyright in sound recordings currently lasts for 50 years. An independent review (the "Gowers review") commissioned and endorsed by the UK government says it should remain at 50 years. Yet the recording industry continues to demand that this term be extended. But term extension would be an injustice to European musicians and musical culture, and may harm our economy.

Copyright is a bargain. In exchange for their investment in creating and distributing sound recordings to the public, copyright holders are granted a limited monopoly during which are allowed to control the use of those recordings. This includes the right to pursue anyone who uses their recordings without permission. But when this time is up, these works join Goethe, Hugo and Shakespeare in the proper place for all human culture – the public domain. In practice, because of repeated term extensions and the relatively short time in which sound recording techniques have been available, there are no public domain sound recordings.

This situation is about to change, as tracks from the first golden age of recorded sound reach the end of their copyright term. The public domain is about to benefit from its half of this bargain. Seminal soul, reggae, and rock and roll recordings will soon be freed from legal restrictions, allowing anyone (including the performers themselves and their heirs) to preserve, reissue, and remix them.

Major record labels want to keep control of sound recordings well beyond the current 50 year term so that they can continue to make marginal profits from the few recordings that are still commercially viable half a century after they were laid down. Yet if the balance of copyright tips in their favour, it will damage the music industry as a whole, and also individual artists, libraries, academics, businesses and the public.

The labels lobby for change, but have yet to publicly present any compelling economic evidence to support their case. What evidence does exist shows clearly that extending term will discourage innovation, stunt the reissues market, and irrevocably damage future artists' and the general public's access to their cultural heritage.

As Europe looks to the creative industries for its economic future, it is faced with a choice. It can agree to extend the copyright term in sound recordings for the sake of a few major record labels. Or it can allow sound recordings to enter the public domain at the end of fifty years for the benefit of future innovation, future prosperity and the public good.

This page contains links to related press and documents. We hope to encourage activism against copyright term extension, but also to offer a balanced perspective. Watch the blog for opportunities to engage with our campaign.

ORG campaign websites

The Open Rights Group campaigned against proposals for copyright term extension in the 2nd half of 2006. Our efforts culminated with publication of the Treasury-sponsored and Government-endorsed Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, which recommended against extending the length protection for sound recordings and performer's rights. Gowers was soon followed by another report - commissioned by the European Commission - which pronounced against the proposals in even stronger terms. These were significant victories, but the issue remains a live one, and one that will ultimately be decided by the EU legislature.

The European Commission has now put forward a proposal that would extend term to 95 years. It is currently being discussed inside various committees in the European Parliament and at Council of Ministers level. The Directive is in danger of being fast-tracked.

Release the Music

Our Release the Music campaign involved two main elements; a briefing pack and a public debate. We recommend reading the briefing pack together with its references. If you prefer to learn by video, then check the recordings of our public debate. The first part is a fantastic lecture by Prof Jonathan Zittrain, which explains this and other aspects of copyright reform in clear and simple (i.e. non-legal!) terms. The second is a panel debate, featuring representatives from the music industry as well as an academic and recording artist. You can also access audio archives of that evening.

Sound Copyright

We launched EU-wide petition site, called Sound Copyright, in February 2008. As well as a petition, which currently has more than 14,000 signatories, the site has text-based resources on the issue. It is published in 5 languages.

Facts and figures about the proposed Term Extension Directive

The European Commission has proposed to extend the term of copyright in sound recordings in a move "aimed at performers". We believe this does not address the problem it claims to, while imposing serious costs on consumers, follow-on innovators and re-users of information. We also believe it endangers the basis of public respect and acceptance of intellectual property.

How copyright works

Copyright is a monopoly granted for a limited time to incentivise artists and performers to create works, while protecting the interests of society at large in having access to those works. It exists because copying creative works, as opposed to, say, "copying" crops, or cars, is much easier than creating them from scratch. Artists need protection from those who would copy their work, and so we have copyright. But a society needs access to its cultural heritage and protection from entrenched monopolies, and so copyright is time-limited.

It is important that policy-makers get the balance of copyright right. The Adelphi Charter, a framework for policy makers considering changes to intellectual property legislation, urges governments to automatically presume against extending the scope or term of intellectual property rights, stating that "the burden of proof in such cases must lie on the advocates of change".

The evidence on term extension

In 2005 Andrew Gowers, former editor of the Financial Times, conducted an independent review of the UK's Intellectual Property Framework. Working with the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL), Cambridge, the review took a rigorous, evidence-based approach. In examining issues of parity, balance of trade, incentive, cost to consumers and fairness, it concluded against extension.

In 2006 a study initiated by the Commission's DG Markt, from the Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam, found that any extra "revenues would have to be paid by users and consumers of sound recordings" and concluded that the case for extension was unconvincing.

In 2008 the leading European centres for intellectual property research released an impact study and review of the evidence. Concluding that the prime beneficiaries would be the owners of large back catalogues, competition would be impeded and consumer prices higher, it, too, recommended against extension.

Disregarding these concerns, and the criticisms of their own advisers, the Commission has moved forward, relying primarily on a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers commissioned by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), whose methodology and findings had been seriously criticised by CIPL. The PwC study, based on analysis of 129 recordings, admits that its findings are unreliable:

"[This study is not of] a large number of recordings, relative to the amounts, to be introduced in the future... Hence, there is no certainty that the current observed effect (i.e. lack of price differential of in-copyright and out-of-copyright recordings) will be repeated in the future."

The cost to consumers, follow on innovators and cultural diversity

It is logically impossible to have benefits for producers or performers with no costs to consumers. The reality for consumers, according to CIPIL, is more likely to be one of significant costs "of between 240 and 480 million pounds."

The Commission's impact assessment ignores the cost to information professionals and follow on innovators such as musicians, film makers and public domain record labels who will incur costs in licensing recordings that are in copyright for another 45 years, and in seeking permission to use works which may or may not have been affected by the proposed "use it or lose it" clause.

There is no strong basis from which to argue that record companies will be incentivised by a term extension to digitise niche cultural works. The Commission has conceded that "phonogram producers will focus on re-issuing the premium CDs during the extended term, i.e., those with very high profit margins". Contrasted with non-rightsholder efforts to digitise works of historic value, such as those of music fan Christopher Bolling, who single-handedly archived 4,000 tracks from old 78rpm records, it becomes clear that allowing recordings to enter the public domain is of significant value to cultural diversity.

Who really benefits?

The Commission estimates the performers' share of new sales revenues from the proposed extension at 10%. However, this conveniently ignores their own statement that redistribution will be highly skewed in favour of the top earning 20% of performers. From that 10% share "between 77% and 89.5% of all income ... goes to the top 20% of earning performers".

For the vast majority of performers the projected extra sales income resulting from term extension is likely to be meagre: from as little as 50¢ each year in the first ten years, to as “much” as €26.79 each year.

Performers' remuneration from broadcasting, public performance or private copying compensation will be affected. Assuming that licensing fees remain constant, earnings to performers will not grow but be sliced more thinly and distributed for longer to more estates of deceased artists. Artists living now will not earn more over their life time.

Moreover the proposed session musician fund comes at a tax of 400%. For every €1 allocated to performers, record labels will get €4.

Each major label would be expected to gain €8.2million-€163million over the 45 year term. That, in turn, works out at €205,000-€4.075m, per label, per year. This is a windfall for record labels.

As the leading centres for intellectual property research wrote to Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso:

"there are many possible measures that would not result in monopolising the back catalogue of recorded music for another half century.

"[Member states] could regulate of copyright contracts, and social security and insurance schemes; and at the European level, [examine] equitable remuneration rights only available to living performers, and the regulation of collecting societies and licence tariffs, such as the nature and distribution of income from any copyright levy scheme."


This proposal, unsuccessfully lobbied for at Member State level, is not about helping poor performers despite the claims. In refusing to confront the critical arguments, it ignores the balance of evidence, bringing serious costs to consumers, follow-on innovators and re-users of sound recordings. It also endangers the basis for public respect and acceptance of intellectual property. As the Commission's own advisers have stated:

"[It] reveals an intention to mislead the Council and the Parliament, as well as the citizens of the European Union. In doing so the Commission reinforces the suspicion, already widely held by the public at large, that its policies are less the product of a rational decision-making process than of lobbying by stakeholders."

MEPs now have to defend the rights of ordinary citizens and reject this bogus proposal in the strongest terms.

References and further reading

  • The Impact of Copyright Extension for Sound Recordings in the UK, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) This report was commissioned by the BPI and has not been made publicly available

MEP lobbying tips

ORG is dedicated to campaigning against copyright term extension in the EU. But our voice is not as powerful as yours. It's vital that you contact your MEPs and tell them why term extension is bad news. With all the evidence pointing against this measure, you can call on your MEPs to put a stop to bad IP law and reject this proposal. You can also also tell the appropriate government department in your own EU country (in the UK it is DCMS), as they will be meeting in the Council of Ministers to discuss term extension.

With the European elections next year, Parliament is set to move quickly on this issue. It’s up to you to remind your representatives that their job is to look out for your interests, not to rush through bad law.


Please remember that a member of the European Parliament (MEP) will be busy and have many pressing topics, so when communicating with them always be polite and explain how term extension concerns you. Are you a consumer, a re-user or innovator, someone who uses the public domain? If you support the Sound Copyright campaign, tell them!

Finding your MEPs

There is probably no MEP or candidate who does not have a homepage with phone numbers. In the unlikely case this is not informative enough you can ask their party's local office for further information. There are contact details on the Parliament websites for all MEPs in the UK and Europe:

In the UK you will definitely have more than one MEP in your region and it is important to contact all of them, not just those from the parties you sympathise with. We recommend that you take at least the first two of the following steps (if you can do all four of them, so much the better!):

  • Write to your MEP and outline your concerns
  • Follow up your letter with a phonecall
  • Go along to one of their surgeries in your home country
  • Travel to Brussels to meet with them

Lobbyists will be making the case for term extension, but MEPs value the opinions of their constituents much more highly than the opinions of lobbyists. Discussing your concerns with them will help to convince them of the importance of the issue and that the people who vote for them are paying attention.

Writing and contacting your MEPs

The European Parliament works by preparing an opinion on the Commission's proposal in the relevant committees. For term extension these are:

An MEP's party and grouping will have a specialist (or rapporteur or shadow-rapporteur), to whom they might defer, making it difficult to get anything meaningful out of an MEP beyond them saying “I will speak to... “. However your initial e-mail/fax may help you with this.

It is important to establish what your MEP's personal opinions are and how they match their party line. From our experience it is worth stating exactly how you are personally concerned and affected by term extension. If one of your MEP's specialises in consumer, intellectual property, culture or industry you could tailor your communications to raise that issue. There are several main groupings: centre left - PSE, centre right - EPP, UEN - centre right (again), liberal - ALDE, national independents - INDEP, green - EFA, and green left - NGL. Information about the rapporteurs, the status of the directive, the committees and who sits on them are here:

You may speak to an assistant, who will do a lot of work keeping any issue under review for their MEP. This can be important as they can answer questions on their MEP's behalf and it's well worth getting them onside. You could give a brief introduction first and then ask questions regarding their position. The Commission proposal and impact assessment have been heavily criticised and we have provided you with an analysis and documents supporting our concerns. Use them when speaking to your MEP. You might mention that if he/she doesn't answer the questions, that it will be noted for voters and other constituents to see. Be prepared to query any response you get back!

The easier you make it for your MEP, the more generously your message will be heard. They receive thousands of demands on their time every year, and cannot meet them all. A well-argued case, where you've done all the ground work beforehand, stands a much higher chance of success than an earnest rant on a personal bugbear issue. (This may sound harsh, but it's how MEPs do see some correspondence.) Further tips on writing letters are available here.

Meeting tips

We recommend you prepare a short briefing, outlining the case, point by point, which you can give the MEP at the end of the meeting. The MEP will then have a clear statement of your views expressed on your terms, rather than his/her notes. (This can also be useful later for journalists.)

First impressions count, so think what image you want to create and dress accordingly. If you're going as part of a group, make sure that one of you takes notes. Be as clear as possible and avoid all talking at the same time. Try to get some firm commitments from the MEP, who may spend most of the time just listening to your case. Establish exactly what they are willing to do, and what principles they can commit to, rather than accepting vague promises about looking into it.

If you are going with a group, establish beforehand who's going to say what, and the points you want to make. You might want to decide who is going to lead and make sure all the points are covered. You might identify the different fields where people want to contribute. Make sure that you have all relevant papers and supporting evidence as well as photocopies for the MEP.

When speaking to them you want to be focused and not simply listen - doublespeak must be avoided! Anything besides yes and no may not be a real answer. Listen to their comments carefully and make sure you have read up on the briefings provided. You could ask them if they believe that intellectual property and copyright should be evidence based or perpetual? Do they think that the proposal actually solves the problem it claims, if there is any problem at all? What do they think of the evidence base for the proposal?

Visiting your MEPs in Brussels

Make at least one appointment with an MEP or assistant before you go - early appointments are essential. Make a note of all the phone numbers for your MEPs and assistants, particularly those that will let you into the building!

Arrive early, and get let in by the assistant of the MEP your appointment is with. The whole building is restricted, so you'll need the assistant to get you a day pass (you also need to hand in your passport for this). If you have some time before your first appointment, you can make some calls while you wait, and as you are there other MEPs and assistants may be willing to meet with you. There are phones in the entrance hall at the sides of the 3rd floor atrium and in the towers.


Have a debriefing to see how you all felt the meeting went and what you achieved. What will the next step in your lobbying strategy be? If your MEPs or assistants are friendly they might well help you by making suggestions or further introductions. Write to your MEP thanking him/her for their time, and for any promises of support they have made. As well as being courteous, it's also a good reminder!

You can publicise your lobbying efforts by informing the local press. If the meeting was successful, and the MEP gave their support, publicity keeps the issue alive and at the forefront of the debate. Your MEP will then be on record as giving their support and backing the issue.

Your case and your argument could be strengthened by being seen to have a powerful ally. If your MEP has refused to support the case this could also be used to gain publicity if you criticise them publicly. MEPs should not use your name without your permission. All correspondence from them is your property. As a public person, any comments in letters etc. from them can be used in letters to the press and in publicity. You could also use quotes from meetings.

External references


2008-02-15 - The Times - New lease of life for ageing rock stars
Author: Dan Sabbagh
Summary: Now the European Commission has struck a chord with the rock dinosaurs and their music companies by proposing that the rights for recorded music be extended from 50 to 95 years. ... Critics said that extending copyright would benefit only a few artists. Becky Hogge, from the campaign group Open Rights Forum, said: "A handful of artists will get most of the rewards, and it is not clear this will benefit the economy."
2007-05-18 - New Statesman - Pity poor Cliff
Author: Sian Berry
Summary: It’s hard to feel sorry for Sirs Cliff Richard and Paul McCartney, and very easy to dismiss the call this week for copyright on music recordings to be extended from 50 years to 95 or even 'life plus 70 years'. The poor things have been at it for so long that their early recordings are starting to fall out of copyright, which means they will soon begin to miss out on some royalties. ... Early Day Motion ... House of Commons Culture Committee ... The Open Rights Group, who are opposed to the abuse of digital rights and campaign for copyright reform and greater access to knowledge, has detailed how most innovation in the UK music scene comes from independent labels that are not dependent on long-ago hits, and that only a tiny minority of artists receive the bulk of royalties. Less than half a percent of artists receive anything that could be called a ‘pension’ and most receive nothing at all beyond their original advance. In reality, it is only the record companies who are making money, as they take their accumulated share of royalty payments from the large catalogues they control.
2007-05-17 - Washington Post - The Sound of Copy Restrictions Crashing
Author: Rob Pegoraro
Summary: Amazon said yesterday that it would open an online store that only stocks MP3 music files without copying restrictions....But when the biggest music download store, one of the biggest CD retailers and a Big Four record label think they should drop that approach, it means things have changed drastically.
2007-05-16 - The Register - MPs cosy up with Sir Cliff on copyright term
Author: Chris Williams
Summary: A report released today by the Commons Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee attempts to torpedo the recommendations of last year's wide-ranging intellectual property report for the Treasury by Andrew Gowers, the former editor of the Financial Times. ... Releasing its counter arguments in "New Media and the Creative Industries", the select committee said Gowers had failed to give proper weight to the "moral right" of Sir Cliff to retain ownership of his 1958 performance on Move It. The committee is chaired by Conservative John Whittingdale, who has acted as a spokesman for record industry trade body the BPI in the past on its battle with digital music trends. ... The parliamentary moves to reanimate the debate have drawn consternation from the Open Rights Group, among others. It has a list of the MPs who have signed the motion here.
2007-05-16 - BBC - Music stars 'must keep copyright'
Summary: UK copyright laws should be extended to prevent musicians from missing out on royalties in later life, MPs have said. Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Cliff Richard are among the artists who will see the current 50-year limit on their early sound recordings expire soon. The House of Commons culture committee said people had a "moral right" to keep control of their creations while alive. The copyright term for sound recordings should be extended to at least 70 years, the committee recommended.
2007-05-16 - The Guardian - MPs come to the defence of Cliff Richard's copyright
Author: Paul MacInnes
Summary: With many 50s artists on the brink of losing their right to royalties, a Commons committee has recommended that musicians get at least an extra 20 years of revenue from their recordings. After doing their best to let the British public know they have the Arctic Monkeys on their iPods, MPs have today shown their commitment to the other end of the music spectrum, leaping to the defence of Cliff Richard's copyright
2007-05-15 - PC Pro - 75 MPs back copyright extension motion
Author: Simon Aughton
Summary: Seventy-five MPs have signed a parliamentary motion calling for an extension of the lifetime of copyright on sound recordings. ... An EU report subsequently agreed with Gowers that the 50-year term was sufficient, arguing that any extension would 'strengthen and prolong' the major record companies dominance of the market 'to the detriment of competition'. ... Connarty disagrees, arguing that it is low-earning musicians who lose out. ... The Open Rights Group disagrees, saying that certain politicians 'appear to be neglecting their IP studies'.
2007-04-30 - ars technica - Gowers: I took the "politically prudent" course on copyright in IP report
Author: Nate Anderson
Summary: Andrew Gowers, former head of the Financial Times, led a UK inquiry into intellectual property rights last year and concluded (among many other things) that musical copyrights should not be extended from their current 50-year length to 95 years. Now, in an interview, Gowers says that the economic data he saw even supported reducing the 50 year term, but that political realities prevented him from recommending this.
2006-11-27 - The Guardian - Music business fights the 50-year rule
Author: Owen Gibson
Summary: The British music industry today launched a last-ditch appeal to head off the findings of an upcoming review expected to reject their pleas to extend the copyright period on sound recordings. ... The Open Rights Group, which has argued alongside the British Library and artists such as Blur's Dave Rowntree that the current status quo provides the best balance between compensation and freedom of expression, said it was "encouraged and delighted by the news".
2006-11-27 - Sunday Telegraph - Music industry loses copyright fight
Author: Dan Roberts
Summary: The record industry has lost its battle to extend copyright protection for ageing pop stars after a long-awaited Treasury review concluded it would do little to encourage new creativity.
2006-11-26 - BBC - No copyright extension for songs
Summary: The copyright on sound recordings will not be extended after an independent review commissioned by the Treasury.
2006-11-16 - Financial Times - Breaking the deal
Author: James Boyle
Summary: The copyright term for sound recordings in the UK is 50 years. (It is longer for compositions.) Obviously, 50 years of legalised exclusivity was enough of an incentive to get them to make the music in the first place. Now they want to change the terms of the deal retrospectively.
2006-06-21 - openDemocracy - Should artists know better? – the British copyright experience
Author: Rosemary Bechler
Summary: Cliff Richard hit the headlines with his campaign to extend the number of years in which British performers can expect to receive royalties for their recordings. Under current UK law, songwriters obtain royalties for their work for their lifetime plus seventy years, whereas performers can only expect payment for fifty years. In the US, copyright was extended ...
2006-05-12 - BBC - Half of UK 'infringing copyright'
Summary: National Consumer Council's Jill Johnstone "The current campaign to extend copyright terms for sound recordings beyond 50 years has no justification," "Evidence shows music companies generally make returns on material in a matter of years, not decades." "Current terms already provide excessive protection of intellectual property rights at a cost to consumers."
2006-05-03 - Times - Free the Beatles' walrus
Author: Gervase Markham
Summary: There's no need to extend the duration of the copyright monopoly... So basically, copyright is a bargain between a creative person and the public. The public, via their elected representatives, say: "We will make a law which gives you a monopoly, for a limited time, on copying some creative work you have made. This financially enables you to create more works without needing a wealthy patron. And it gives us those works to enjoy, and eventually all the rights to them we would have in absence of the law."
2006-04-30 - The Sunday Times Ireland - Royalties about to dry up for showband stars
Author: Kate Butler and Jan Battles
Summary: Performance royalties have a term of 50 years, but a campaign to extend it has been joined by industry heavyweights such as Paul McGuinness, manager of U2, who are concerned that short copyright term leaves recordings vulnerable to pirating.
2006-02-17 - BBC - Copyright sings to a different tune
Author: Kay Withers
Summary: It is what is sometimes called the Goldilocks problem - the need to provide copyright protection at a level that is not too much, not too little, but just right. An independent review team in the Treasury is now considering these problems and will report in autumn this year. The majority of works produced in the 50s and 60s are no longer of any commercial value. Many are out of circulation and unavailable to would be listeners.If you walk into a bookshop you can buy a copy of Dickens' Bleak House, or Austen's Pride and Prejudice for about £1.50. The copyright in these works has long expired so different publishers can compete to offer them at lower prices. Consumers have benefited from the works being out of protection. So perhaps the expiration of copyright in sound recordings for the Beatles should not be seen as the end of music. Instead it could be the end of an era, perhaps.
2005-10-17 - BBC - Copyright for the digital age
Author: Bill Thompson
Summary: Mr Gil can be relied on to understand why the law should "ensure both the sharing of knowledge and the rewarding of innovation". As for Mr Purnell, the RSA's charter is pretty short, at just under 450 words, and fits nicely on a single side of A4 paper so it will not fill his ministerial red box. If he reads it carefully, he will have some intellectual ammunition to use against the representatives of the music industry who are currently lobbying hard for an extension of the copyright term on recordings, which currently stands at only 50 years.
Summary: The seminar, organised jointly by the ippr (Institute for Public Policy Research), PCMLP (Programme for Comparative Media Law and Policy at Oxford University) and the RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts etc), Speakers: Professor Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Stanford, John McVay, Chief Executive, Pact, Adam Singer, CEO, MCPS-PRS Alliance. Chair: John Howkins, RSA
2005-06-17 - The Times - Copyright wrongs: we can't let the music industry suits stifle creativity
Author: David Rowan
Summary: Mr Purnell, who is in charge of our “creative industries”, believes that we, too, need to “modernise our intellectual property framework” along similar lines. Following a music industry campaign to extend the copyright term for sound recordings from 50 to 95 years, he has been rapping in rhythm with the EMI and BMG massive: in a risky, talent-driven business like pop, the suits, apparently, need guarantees of long-term financial returns. As he told the Institute for Public Policy Research yesterday, the record labels need copyright reforms “that will allow them to make returns on their creativity and to invest in innovation”. What he failed to explain was the damage that such a short-term corporate grab would do to the public good.
2005-06-16 - Department for culture, media and sport -
Author: James Purnell, Minister for Creative Industries
Summary: James Purnell, Minister for Creative Industries, keynote speech to IPPR event, London "....Third, we need to modernise our intellectual property framework, and in places it may need to be strengthened. IP is the bedrock of the creative economy. The Labour Manifesto committed us to modernise copyright and other forms of protection of intellectual property rights so that they are appropriate for the digital age."
2005-06-05 - The Sunday Times - Plan to extend copyright on pop classics
Author: Andrew Porter, Deputy Political Editor
Summary: Britain's super-rich rock veterans are about to get even richer. The government wants to extend copyright laws to ensure pop songs are protected for almost twice as long as the current 50 years
2005-02-18 - BBC - The copyright 'copyfight' is on
Author: Bill Thompson
Summary: In legal terms, the basic argument is between those who see creative works as just another type of property, with what are increasingly presented as inalienable property rights, and those who see copyright as a deal struck with creative people by the state, one which is intended to benefit both sides. Copyright history supports the second view, but since the mid-1970's there has been increasing legal support for the first.
2004-08-10 - BBC - Head to head: Music copyright
Summary: With the first wave of rock 'n' roll recordings - starting with Elvis Presley - about to go out of copyright in Europe, the UK music industry wants the current 50-year time limit extended. But would this also be good news for fans? Both sides of the argument are put forward below.
2004-07-26 - BBC - Music bosses head royalties fight
Summary: A campaign is under way to protect music copyrights due to expire on 50-year-old records by Elvis Presley and other rock legends. Copies of 50-year-old songs can be issued in Europe without the need for payments to copyright owners. 1 January 2005 this could affect records by Chuck Berry, James Brown - and by 2013, The Beatles.