Thursday, May 18, 2006

(c) is not a pension fund

Don FosterDon Foster MP organised a parliamentary debate yesterday on the Gowers review into intellectual property policy. While the usual suspects were there to make some transparently self-interested speeches, Mr Foster had a number of good points (via Open Rights Group):

Opponents also challenge the idea that back catalogue revenues provide investment for new ventures and to support new artists. Peter Jameson of the BPI argued in TheGuardian on 24 April that such investment had contributed to a boom in new British music, citing artists such as Arctic Monkeys, James Blunt and Kaiser Chiefs. However, Arctic Monkeys are with Domino Records, which was founded in 1993 and rarely re-releases records that predate itself, and James Blunt was signed by the US label Custard Records, which was set up only in 2004 and so has little back catalogue material to release; the same is true of Kaiser Chiefs, who are signed to B-Unique, which was also founded in 2004. Those are hardly good examples of recording companies that rely on significant revenue from the back catalogue profits that would be under threat if we were to stick at the 50-year copyright term.

The Treasury was also there to stomp on Cliff Richard's plea that the copyright term should be extended to provide a pension fund for musicians:

The broader intellectual property system is not one of rewards or, as the hon. Gentleman put it, a pension fund for old musicians. It is one of incentives to invest and innovate; that is its importance to the economy. It must encourage new innovators to create and generate ideas in the knowledge that they will be remunerated for their endeavour.

The government needs to consider the impact of any term extension on follow-on creativity, which is a major source of new works.

No comments: