European Musicians Win Copyright Battle

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“Cliff’s Law” increases copyright protection for European musicians.

The European Union has agreed to add 20 years of copyright protection for recorded musical performances, extending the rights from 50 to 70 years. “Cliff’s Law,” named for British Rock pioneer Cliff Richard, will allow European artists to continue profiting from their early recordings well into retirement. Richard represented one important voice among many artists involved in this hard-fought campaign.

British Television presenter Jools Holland told SKY News “It’s important that creators get paid for the work they do and this extra twenty years is much deserved.” However, not everyone is thrilled with the passing of the new law. Monique Goyens of European Consumer Organization BEUC was concerned that this law only benefits a select few, saying “This decision serves a select few famous older artists and will prompt more and higher license fees for buyers. It further fossilizes European copyright law.” Others feel that time would be better spent focusing on the more current issue of the illegal downloading of songs.

Michel Barnier, the EU Commissioner of Internal Market and Services affirmed that the “decision to increase the term of protection for musicians’ copyright from 50 to 70 years will make a real difference for performers.” Cliff Law supporters like Paul McCartney and Roger Daltrey are sure to agree with him, and be happy to have moved one step closer to the United States’ rights, which protect American works for 95 years.



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