updated 10:15 pm EDT, Wed September 14, 2011
Change aims to aid aging musicians
The Council of the European Union has voted to extend copyright protection terms for sound recordings by 20 years. The move was widely supported by the recording industry, pushed through as a way to "help aging sessions musicians" by ensuring that royalties would not be cut off as the copyright holders were ready to retire.
Controversy surrounding the extension is not new, as the European Parliament in 2009 voted to back a similar extension. Proponents initially argued to bring copyright protections up to 95 years, nearly doubling the previous 50-year limit. Despite a compromise that brought the protection down to 70 years, the proposal at the time was rejected by the Council.
Lobbying efforts eventually achieved success convincing a number of countries to change their position, resulting in the extension's approval earlier this week, according to an Ars Technica report.
"Performers generally start their careers young and the current term of protection of 50 years often does not protect their performances for their entire lifetime," the Council wrote in a statement. "Therefore, some performers face an income gap at the end of their lifetimes."
Critics suggest that record labels will reap the majority of profits from the decision, rather than aging musicians.