Term of protection

ICMP considers the current term of protection (70 p.m.a. for authors and 70 for performers and sound recordings) is still very much appropriate in the digital environment. Indeed, as demonstrated in the Commission's impact study (EC Impact Assessment on the Legal and Economic Situation of Performers and Record Producers in the European Union (SEC(2008) 2287).

Music publishers spend a lot of time and money bringing writers to the market. They provide significant advanced payments to these artists before these artists make any profit. Obviously they are only able to invest if they can get compensated for their rights; developing talent is an expensive business. Creative industries are long term industries that need significant investments to exist and develop. In an increasingly aging society, life plus 70 is an appropriate term of protection. Anything shorter than that has often proven to be too short to recoup on those investments. It has also often proven insufficient to allow creators and their descendants to legitimately benefit from the exploitation of their works.

The term of protection of 70 p.m.a. for authors is in line with the term of protection in most of EU’s main trading partners. Inconsistency in the term of protection would make it difficult to achieve an appropriate level of efficiency in the management and the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs) on an international scale.

We therefore believe that the EU should now call upon important trade partners with different terms of protection for copyright (i.e. Canada, Japan and South Africa) to extend their copyright term by 20 years making it comparable to the EU as well as to the majority of the countries in the world. International harmonisation is necessary to maintain effectiveness of protection when considering borderless transmission from a country to a country where terms of protection differ. In light of the above, ICMP calls on the EU to raise this very important issue when negotiating whatever international trade instrument with the above mentioned countries and to call upon their governments to increase the term of copyright to life plus 70 years in order to be in line with the standards currently prevailing elsewhere.