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[InetBib] FW: [IFLA-L] Petition against EU extension of sound recordings copyright

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Perkins lists [mailto:lists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Monday, April 14, 2008 9:49 AM
To: ifla-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [IFLA-L] Petition against EU extension of sound recordings copyright

Tell the EU: Keep Copyright Sound!
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.

If you agree that copyright term on sound recordings should not be extended
past 50 years, please, sign this petition today.

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.

If you agree that copyright term on sound recordings should not be extended
past 50 years, please, sign this petition today
<http://www.soundcopyright.eu/petition>. Together, we can defeat copyright
term extension.

[Petition text]

   The following individuals state their opposition to a copyright term
extension for sound recordings.

    We ask the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council
of Ministers to ensure that policy in this area reflects all concerned
stakeholders, including consumer and public interest organisations, and not
just the commercial rights-holders who advocate for extended copyright term.

Mark Perkins MLIS, MCLIP


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