After several years of uncertainty and series of fresh developments, the European Directive extending the term of protection for performers’ rights in respect to sound recordings has finally just been adopted by the European Council on Monday 12 September 2011.
Against an international backdrop which is largely unfavourable to copyright issues, this initiative has, for several years, had to face often radical opposition from various lobbies, often underlain by arguments that were either inconsistent or simply in bad faith. FIM’s lobbying efforts also encountered resistance from the industry when it came to ensuring that the text really benefitted musicians and not just record producers.
The text adopted represents an historic step forward. It does not just extend the term of protection of neighbouring rights from 50 to 70 years but also includes provisions aimed at correcting imbalances affecting contractual relationships between performers and producers. From this point of view, the text is firmly innovative and, may, we hope, provide a basis for further headway.
All FIM European members are invited to get closely involved in the process of transposing the directive into national legislations. Trade unions from other regions are also encouraged to draw inspiration from the text’s most favourable provisions in order to continue to make worldwide headway where musicians’ rights are concerned.