EU extends musical copyrights by 20 years, eyes movies next

27 04 2009

The European Parliament late last week agreed to extend musical copyrights from their current 50-year term to 70 years. So all that early rock ‘n roll about to pass into the public domain? Don’t count on using it in your documentary for another two decades—and there’s nothing to say that the term won’t be extended again.

While the vote is a big victory for the music labels who can continue to market major artists like The Beatles (let’s face it, the obscure stuff from the 1950s isn’t selling in measurable quantities anymore, and it’s not playing on the radio), the movie industry looks set to cash in soon, too. In passing the term extension, Parliament also asked the European Commission “to launch an impact assessment of the situation in the European audiovisual sector by January 2010, with a view to deciding whether a similar copyright extension would benefit the audiovisual world.”

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