Bands Set For Longer Music Rights

Scott Schrade schrade at
Sun Feb 17 12:58:04 CST 2008

Bands Set For Longer Music Rights
Music performers could see a big boost to their lifetime earnings 
under planned changes to music rights proposed by the European 

The Commission wants to extend the copyright period for music 
performers from 50 years to 95 years. 

British stars like Cliff Richard and Roger Daltrey have been pushing 
for such a move, but the UK government has resisted changing the 

The Commission says it will also benefit less well known musicians. 

The European Union's internal market commissioner Charlie 
McCreevy said that "copyright protection for Europe's performers 
represents a moral right to control the use of their work and earn a 
living from their performances". 

"It is the performer who gives life to the composition and while 
most of us have no idea who wrote our favourite song, we can 
usually name the performer," he said. 

The copyright for a song or piece of music, and the money that 
earns, is split into two parts. 

Performance and sound recording rights usually go to the singer, 
band, musicians and technicians. 

Publishing rights, which cover the lyrics and sheet music will either 
be owned by the writer, or a music label. 

They last for the lifetime of the writer plus 70 years. 

Thursday's proposal was highly significant for the musicians and 
technicians "who only receive a small share of performance 
income from the exploitation of recordings for a limited period 
of time," said Lee Gage of lawyers Harbottle & Lewis. 

He added that "session performers and other non-featured 
musicians" would especially benefit from the changes. 

The Who singer Roger Daltrey, and Sir Cliff Richard are among 
the artists who have spoken out against the UK government's 
decision not to extend music copyright laws. 

Mr Daltrey said thousands of artists had "no pensions and rely 
on royalties". 

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