Four months have now passed since I and 40 fellow members of the European Parliament submitted a request for renewed referral of the Parliament’s decision to extent the protection time for music recordings from 50 to 70 years. Our aim was to give the Parliament a chance to reconsider the decision before the Council of Ministers adopted it as well, and made it into law.
Last Friday, at long last, we received a letter by snail mail from the EU bureaucracy apologizing for the long delay, and saying that our request was against the Rules of Procedure for the Parliament, and would not be accepted.
Considering the summary way that the request was dismissed, it is not obvious to me why it had to take them four months to reach that conclusion.
Coincidentally, it appears that the copyright term extension is on the agenda for the Council meeting that starts on Wednesday, September 7. I have not managed to find the agenda on the Council’s web site, but the information comes from one of the permanent representations here in Brussels.
This is bad news.
There used to be a blocking minority in the Council, which is what prevented the copyright term extension from becoming a reality in 2009, when the (old) Parliament took the decision. But now that blocking minority has disappeared, since Denmark has changed its position.
The Member States that currently oppose the proposal are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and The Netherlands. That is five votes short of a blocking minority.
Unless something very unexpected happens, odds are that the copyright term extension will become reality this week. This is despite the fact that the extension has met massive criticism from the academic world, including the Hargreaves Review that was presented to the British government earlier this year.
Despite the damning criticism the Hargreaves Review levies at the copyright term extension, the British government is still pushing for the extension.
Are you surprised that politicians first order a scientific review of a policy area, and then completely ignore its findings and do the exact opposite? You shouldn’t be. Fact based policy making has never been applied in the intellectual property field before, and the people who are pulling the strings are not going to start now.
The purpose of the European Union is to keep the various lobbyists for big business happy, in this case the big record companies that own the rights to 80% of all music that has been recorded in history. If the copyright term extension goes through this week, they will be very happy with their politicians who delivered.
In English: PC World