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Term of protection

Directive 2011/77/EU

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2011 amending Directive 2006/116/EC on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights

The directive to extend the term of protection for performers and sound recordings to 70 years was adopted on 12 September 2011. The aim of the directive is to bring performers’ protection more in line with that already given to authors – 70 years after their death. The extended term will enable performers to earn money for a longer period of time and in any event throughout their lifetime. The income from copyright remuneration is important for performers, as they often do not have other regular salaried income. The extended term will also benefit record producers who will generate additional revenue from the sale of records in shops and on the internet. This should allow producers to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment and help them maintain their investment levels in new talent.

The directive also contains accompanying measures which aim specifically to help performers. The “use it or lose it” clauses which will now have to be included in the contracts linking performers to their record companies will allow performers to get their rights back if the record producer does not market the sound recording during the extended period. In this way the performer will be able to either find another record producer willing to sell his music or do it himself, something that is possible easily via the internet. Finally, record companies will have to set up a fund into which they will have to pay 20% of their revenues earned during the extended period. The money from this fund will be destined to help session musicians.

Directive 2006/116/EC

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights (codified version)

The Directive 2006/116/EC harmonises the terms of protection of copyright and neighbouring rights. The Directive establishes a total harmonisation of the period of protection for each type of work and each related right in the Member States – e.g. 70 years after the death of the author for works and 50 years after the event setting the time running for neighbouring rights. Furthermore, it deals with other issues, such as the protection of previously unpublished works, of critical and scientific publications and of photographic works.

Council Directive 93/98/EEC

of 29 October 1993 harmonizing the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights

The Directive 93/98/EEC has been repealed and replaced by Directive 2006/116/EC, without prejudice to the obligations of the Member States relating to the time-limits for transposition into national law of the Directives, and their application.