'Don't let royalties be paltry', begs Daltrey

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Sun May 6 11:03:30 CDT 2007

The Sunday Independent (Ireland) at: 

'Don't let royalties be paltry', begs Daltrey 
Sunday May 6th 2007 

ROGER DALTREY may have sung in the Sixties that he hoped to die before he grew old, but, at 63 and very much alive, he has now gone into battle for singers' pensions.

Daltrey, currently on a 30-date tour with The Who, has launched a scathing attack on the British government for "stealing" artists' royalties.

He wants copyright protection for singers extended beyond the current 50-year limit, which will soon deny payments to those who had hits in the Fifties or Sixties.

Daltrey said: "We've seen the disastrous effect Gordon Brown's policies have had on pension funds in the last 10 years. Well, it's about to get worse.

"Thousands of musicians have no pensions and rely on royalties to support themselves. The government should remember that these people helped to create one of Britain's most successful industries, poured money into the British economy and enriched people's lives.

"They are not asking for a handout, just a fair reward for their creative endeavours."

Many artists, including Sir Cliff Richard and Sir Paul McCartney, but also thousands of lesser-known singers, have reached the stage where their entitlement to royalties for songs they sang, but did not write, will expire in the next few years.

Songwriters, by contrast, have copyright protection for life plus 70 years. Singers in the US and India are protected for 95 years.

Daltrey, who lives in East Sussex with his second wife, Heather, said that he was "disgusted" with the British government's acceptance of a report last December which concluded that no change was necessary because singers could make money from CD sales, their celebrity and branded goods.

"It's not good enough for the government to tell us to go away and sell T-shirts," according to Daltrey. "That shows how little they understand this problem."

Daltrey added: "For every band like The Who there are probably 500 who had just one or two hits and need the royalties to maintain a reasonable standard of living."

There was also a principle involved, he said. "Singers interpret the songs in their own unique, creative way. Singing is my art form and I see my songs as important as any book or painting. That should be recognised."

The British Phonographic Industry said it would put the case for change "vigorously" to the European Commission this year. 

-Brian in Atlanta 
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