Roger vs. the British Government

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Wed Jul 25 06:08:33 CDT 2007

News article and editorial: 


THE WHO's ROGER DALTREY has launched a stinging attack on the British government, accusing Prime Minister Gordon Brown of failing to look after the country's musicians by protecting their royalties. 

The rocker, 63, is angry the Department of Culture has rejected calls to extend the period of time during which musicians are entitled to receive royalty payments for the songs they write. 

Under current U.K. law, artists are allowed to claim royalties for 50 years, while authors, playwrights and composers are entitled to copyright protection for their whole lives - and 70 years after their passing. 

And Daltrey insists the royalty extension is a necessity for ageing stars like himself. 

He says, "Thousands of musicians have no pensions and rely on royalties to support themselves. 

"They aren't asking for a hand-out, just a fair reward for their endeavours." 

Editorial from The Inquirer (a VNU business publication): 

UK gov applies screws to record industry 

Copyright extension nixed 

By Wily Ferret: Wednesday 25 July 2007, 09:01 

THE UK GOVERNMENT has decided against extending the term of copyright for sound recordings to 70 years, up from the current 50. 
This means that such seminal works as Cliff Richard's 'Move It' will become public domain in 2008. 

The government decided to follow the recommendation in a report written by Andrew Gowers, former Editor of the Financial Times, who found that the economic incentives and benefits of extending copyright were minimal, whilst the red tape and societal detriment would far outweigh that. 

Gowers made the rather perceptive observation that since artists only make 8 per cent of the revenue on a digital download sale, and the record labels 68 per cent, that the welfare of artists would be better served by re-negotiating record label deals rather than extending the legal length of royalties, with the likely outcome of such a re-negotiation benefitting the many rather than the few - a notion that most observers might have thought long disappeared from the record industry. 

The usual big-hitters came out kicking and screaming, with The Who's Roger Daltrey suggesting that since most musicians have no pensions, an entire generation would now be screwed, apparently failing to acknowledge that, a) ,the percentage of musicians receiving anything like enough royalties to sustain a pension is minimal to the point of being those rich enough already and that, b), no other profession expects its apprentices to pay for the pensions of its masters. 

Those who have made their money from music and film are often the most vocal about preventing up-and-comers from making money - which is exactly what copyright extension does, by criminalising sampling and re-working, the sort of things that the old guard did as a matter of course to make their money in the first place. 

So well done to Brown & Co for cutting through the record industry's rubbish and recognising the economic realities of the music business. Millions of artists thank you, even if the pen pushers and the fat cats may grump. 

-Brian in Atlanta 
The Who This Month!

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