Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Bjorn Ulvaeus (Abba)
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger has expressed delight after veteran musicians’ royalties were secured for an extra 20 years following a European Union law change.

Under existing legislation the copyright on recorded music automatically expired after 50 years, leaving musicians who recorded music at the start of the rock’n'roll revolution facing a loss of earnings in the coming few years. But yesterday the EU Council voted to extend protection to 70 years, meaning bands who made their name in the early 1960s can look forward to two decades more protection. It means artists also maintain control over how their music is used.

Jagger tells the BBC: “The record business is not what it was, so people don’t earn as much as they used to.” He adds the ruling “can extend their lives and the lives of their families who inherit their songs.” Pop giant Bjorn Ulvaeus of Abba sees another advantage. He says: “Now I won’t see Abba being used in a TV commercial. And the thousands of lesser-known musicians around Europe who are enriching our life and culture can get the fair reward in return for their work that they deserve.”

An EU spokesman noted: “Performers generally start their careers young and the current term of protection of 50 years often down not protect their performances for their entire lifetime. Some performers face an income gap at the end of their lives.”

In separate changes to legislation, artists who signed off ownership rights to record labels will be entitled to increased payments in future, and given the right to demand renegotiation of contracts after 50 years. Meanwhile, lawmakers in England are set to change performing rights laws which means small pubs and clubs will no longer need to buy an entertainment licence to stage live band performances.

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