Call to extend performers’ rights

Select Committee recommends extension to 70 years

A report by the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has backed calls by the likes of Sir Cliff Richard and Paul McCartney and recommended that protection of performers’ rights be extended from 50 to 70 years.

In its report entitled ‘New Media and the Creative Industries’, the committee, chaired by Conservative MP John Whittingdale, said: “We strongly believe that copyright represents a moral right of a creator to choose to retain ownership and control of their own intellectual property… We have not heard a convincing reason why a composer and his or her heirs should benefit from a term of copyright which extends for lifetime and beyond, but a performer should not.”

The committee’s conclusion contrasts with that of Andrew Gowers’ wide-ranging Review of Intellectual Property in the UK, published last year, which recommended that the term remain at 50 years as increasing the term “would not increase the incentives to invest, would not increase the number of works created or made available, and would negatively impact upon consumers and industry. Furthermore, by increasing the period of protection, future creators would have to wait an additional length of time to build upon past works to create new products and those wishing to revive protected but forgotten material would be unable to do so for a longer period of time.”

Among other recommendations, the Committee said that the unauthorised copying and distribution of content from cinemas should be made a criminal offence and internet service providers and search engines needed to do more to discourage online piracy.