Wishart to Launch Bill for Musicians Rights

The bill will be read for the second time on March 7. The launch will take place in the Jubilee Room in the House of Commons at 4pm Thursday. Among the invited guests are Mark Ronson's singer, Tawiah, and 60's legend Sandie Shaw.

Mr Wishart, a former member of Runrig and Big Country, has long advocated equal rights for performers and their sound recordings. While authors and songwriters are currently protected for life plus seventy years for their compositions, performers and their sound recordings only have a fifty year copyright from the year that the recording was released.

Speaking ahead of the launch Pete Wishart MP said:

"I am delighted to bring forward this Private Members Bill and help tackle this unique discrimination against musicians on copyright term.

"While all other creators, artists and writers secure lifetime plus on royalties, musicians still only for get 50 years, this means that many musicians are deprived of vital income in their old age. Let's remember, where fortunes can be made in music, the majority of musicians in the UK live on less than £15,000 a year.

"The creative industries will also soon take over from the financial sector as the most valuable part of our economy. It is therefore important that we make our creative industries competitive and incentivise this important sector, as well as looking after our artists.

"The Sound Recordings (Copyright Term Extension) and Performers' Rights Bill intends to put that right by proposing 95 years for royalty payments for musicians. It is also in line with the recommendation made by the European Commission on Term, and it is supported by almost everyone in the music industry.

"This Bill also has support across all political parties and 37,000 musicians have signed a petition to end this discrimination."

ENDS

Notes:

The UK music industry has been championing this cause for a considerable period of time and, despite the recommendations proposed by the Gowers' Review which reported in December 2006, is determined to keep this issue in front of the Government.

COMMENTS FROM PPL, MU AND BPI

"We are extremely grateful to Pete Wishart MP for his determination to change the current legislation by finally putting a stop to the copyright discrimination suffered by tens of thousands of performers and thousands of record companies, big and small," said Fran Nevrkla Chairman & CEO, PL and VPL. " The current inferior treatment of our part of the copyright community cannot be justified on any grounds. We are also very encouraged by the very recent and positive statement made by the European Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, which demonstrates his far sighted understanding of the relevant issues. We shall spare no effort and leave no stone unturned by working closely with the rest of the music industry as well as our key supporters in Parliament, especially Pete Wishart MP, Michael Connarty MP and many others from all Parties, until justice is done and the long overdue copyright parity is achieved."
 

"The Musicians' Union welcomes Pete Wishart's Bill," said John F. Smith General Secretary, Musicians' Union. "The fact that performers rights are expiring during a performer's lifetime is indefensible and, we believe, morally wrong. It is time that the performing community's essential contribution to the creative process is acknowledged and the term of protection given to their recorded performances extended, as this bill proposes, from the current 50 years to 95 years."

"Pete Wishart's Bill is yet a further demonstration of the strong support within the UK Parliament for the rights of artists and the creative companies that invest in them, said Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive, BPI. "An extension of copyright term to 95 years would address the unfairness in the current system, which treats musicians less favourably than other creators and less favourably than they are treated in other major markets, such as the United States. A strong foundation of copyright is essential if Britain is to keep her leading role in the world of music."

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