European hit-makers still getting paid

A gold record in a glass case sits before an auction at Christies in London


Bill Radke: When you're a teenager just starting to write songs, it's hard to imagine one day you WILL be older than your music's copyright protections. It happens. Baby boomer musicians in Europe got some good news this week when the European Union Parliament voted to extend recording copyrights from 50 years to 70. Christopher Werth reports.

Christopher Werth: The move is a victory for icons of the British invasion. The copyright on recordings like the Beatles hit "Love Me Do" would expire in three years under existing law. But Paul McCartney would still receive some royalties because he not only performed the 1962 hit, he also wrote it.

The work of a writer or composer is protected for a lifetime, plus 70 years after death. But as Jonathan Radcliffe of Nabarro explains, there are a lot of people in the music industry that don't have that extra income:

Jonathan Radcliffe: The kinds of rights that are falling out of protection from the 50's and 60's were performed by people who at that time typically didn't usually write the music and the lyrics. They simply performed them.

That leaves aging British rockers like Cliff Richard in a tough position. He became a star with hit singles he didn't actually write, like 1959's "Living Doll." The song's copyright expires this year.

Richard was among those who campaigned hard for the changes that will ensure those royalty checks keep showing up. But critics say the move will do more for record companies to continue raking in profits on old contracts.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

Log in to post3 Comments

Ethereal Eden:

Kind of late to reply.

I am not angry at song writers.
I am angry at government moving the "goal posts". The main benefit is mainly for multinational recording companies. We will then have other countries moving the goal post also. There would be a goal post moving war soon...

As for patents, there is NO need to extend the patent exclusive rights duration (currently 20 years) anymore.
Twenty years is more than enough.

I do enjoy writing poem, and songs might be next...

A loaf of bread or a fragrant red rose? Choose one, lose the other? Patents and copyrights are equally important. HP Ng gather your colleagues and lobby for your patent rights to be extended. Don't be angry with songwriters like me. We're on your side.

This is just another scam to screw and distort what is fair.

Patent rights do not last that long.
So why should song copyright be extended.

Laws like this is meant to protect the status quo.

What make these people deserve excessive protection more than others?

Patents on the other hand, can benefit society much much more, and they have a limited lifespan.

I guess people should start wring songs, and avoid inventions, eh????

I am just livid..... ^%$#@!

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