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Copyright term extension for sound recordings

Copyright term extension for sound recordings

Published: 13.09.11 at 12:01

The European Council has voted in favour of a directive that will see the term for copyright in sound recordings and performances extended from 50 to 70 years (counted from the date of publication or communication to the public). The directive will come into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union [*update - the term of protection for sound recordings and performers' rights in the UK will be extended as of the 1st of Nov].

The UK's backing of the directive is contradictory considering that ministers also approved the findings of the Hargreaves Report which advised against any term extension. This report considered how changes to intellectual property laws could stimulate the economy and concluded that any term extension would have little effect on output.

However, the term extension will benefit both record companies (as holders of the copyright in the recordings) and performers. Record companies will have to pay 20% of revenue earned during the extended period to the musicians who received one-off payments for their performances. Additionally, if a record producer is not releasing sufficient quanitites of the record to the public after 50 years, the performers can terminate the record producer's copyright in the recording. These changes to the law could be seen as creating a fairer system for performers when considering that composers already enjoy copyright that extends for 70 years after their death.

For a critique of the main provisions of the directive see the IPKat here.

For prior background to this story follow these links to the IPKat and the BBC

Photograph (some rights reserved) by vasta


Please note that this article provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.


  1. Own-it updates

    The UK Regulations that will implement the EU law extending copyright in sound recordings and performers’ rights from 50 to 70 years have been laid before Parliament. They will come into force on 1 November 2013.

    A copy of the Regulations can be found here - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/1782/made

    Posted by Joseph Walsh on 02.08.13 at 12:25


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