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The Cost of Copyright Term Extension

Last week, the European Council passed copyright term extension for sound recordings, extending the term from 50 to 70 years. Martin Kretschmer, a UK professor, notes that the cost of the extension will exceed one billion euros to the general public. Seventy-two percent of the revenues will go to record labels and only four percent to struggling musicians.

3 Comments

  1. Before anyone gets their backs up on the 4%, I have to ask who owns the IP on the songs? It is entirely possible this is an effect of the agreements signed by the artists in question.

    As I understand it in the past (and perhaps the present as well) the artist signed over a portion of the ownership of the work in return for up front consideration (cash), in particular for artists that are just starting out. Established artists, who are more likely to be able to provide a “guaranteed” revenue stream for the publisher are often able to negotiate a better deal for themselves since they are less risky to the labels.

    Now, let’s not also forget that the rights may be purchased by a label if the artist, or their estate, decides to sell the rights for cash.

  2. anon-k says: ‘As I understand it in the past (and perhaps the present as well) the artist signed over a portion of the ownership of the work in return for up front consideration (cash), ..’
    Ok but then why do the labels get the extra cash grab from mthe extention. It is basically changing the agreement after the contract is signed.

  3. @db: I don’t follow your argument. If the artist signed over full or partial ownership of the work, a sunset clause would have been needed in the contract for the ownership to revert to 100% artist. If there wasn’t, then the original agreement is still in effect. To give all of the money to the artist in these situations would amount to the government changing the agreement.

    Note that this goes both ways. These days a number of more popular actors are negotiating a cut of the profits of a movie in return for taking less money up front. Unless there exists a sunset clause in the contract, that actor continues to get cheques from the studio for that movie.