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EU Extends its Protection for the Musicians and Producers of Sound Recordings

post Saturday September 17, 2011

Tags: eu; copyrights; ipr enforcemtn; illegal downloads; protection



September 12, 2011, EU legal framework extended the term of protection for performers and sound recordings from 50 years to 70 years.  The purpose of this extension is to further protect the income of the musicians considering many of them don’t have regular income. This extension will also help record producers who will receive economic benefits from the sale of records in shops and on the internet.


This change puts the protection term for musicians the same as the authors. Many musicians start their careers at their 20s, based on the 50 years protection term, many of them will gain little income around their 70s (the average life expectancy in the EU is 75 years for men and 81 years for women), and this change will help to fill in their income gap at the end of their lifetimes. This extension will also protect the sound recording producers. EU states that the biggest challenges for the producers are peer-to peer piracy and dematerialized distribution. With the additional income generated through the longer period, the record companies can finance new talent and reduce the risk to develop the new talent. This extension is an effort to further improve the development of musical industry.


In recent years, EU has strengthened its efforts to protect the copyrights, especially in the area of illegal downloading and sharing. From 2009-2010, European Commission’s department for the internal market has hosted several meetings to call for actions to stop illegal downloads and sharing. This series meeting target different aspects of copyright protections and explore possible ways of voluntary cooperation in compliance with the existing legal framework. ISPs are considered to bear a specific responsibility to address infringement since they operated the networks used by the infringers. ISPs stated that the current available legal offers are insufficient in terms of conditions and diversity. They indicated that they were still experience substantial difficulties in developing new attractive services, and they urged different parties to collaborate on this issue, especially in regard to revenues along the value chain and rights clearance.


The current legal framework of EU is a mix of different provisions on the protection of personal data and privacy among member states. Hunton and Williams, with the authorization from the Commission, conducted a study of online copyright and enforcement and data protection in selected member states (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and UK). This study shows that there is a divergent situation throughout the member states between IPR enforcement and data protection and privacy laws. Members who attended this meeting also indicated the difficulties to exercise the right of information in civil procedures due to national data protection rules. Thus, they suggested alternative ways to ensure the compliance


In regards to technical approach, many participants of the meeting urged IPSs to exercise control over the traffics generated due to illegal downloading and sharing. However, IPSs states that it was impossible to detect the legal status of a sharing file among the users. Moreover, they considered the control was against the principles in EU Acquis and the cost to implement the measures will be substantial.

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