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Sound copyright term extension to pass EU first reading

Against widespread dissent and controversy, yesterday the European Parliament voted to allow sound copyright term extension to pass a first reading. The proposal now moves forward to the Council of Ministers where it is currently blocked by member states.

The press-release issued by The Open Rights Group and Sound Coyright explains: "4 out of the 7 main groups (ALDE, GREENS/EFA, NGL, IND/ DEM) together with a cross party platform of MEPs voted to reject the proposal. Internal opposition threatened the group positions of the two largest parties (PSE and EPP) as several national delegations and key MEPS also joined the fight to reject. We understand that, in total, 222 voted in favour of rejection, 370 against. The final vote was 317 in favour, 178 against, 37 abstentions. A key amendment to ensure benefits accrued only to performers was also rejected. [24apr09]

The proposal now moves forward to the Council of Ministers where it is currently blocked by member states (We understand the blocking minority is currently made up of Slovenia, Portugal, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, Romania). The fundamental problems remain: how to include a workable use-it-or-lose it clause; agreeing to deliver real benefits to the vast majority of performers; how to avoid breaking the respect necessary for a functioning IP system by simply taking money from the pockets of consumers.

While the lobbying of powerful vested interests pushed the proposal through, the widespread condemnation in the press, among stakeholders, and in the European Parliament shows that our argument has been won in the eyes of the public and that Europe must create balanced and fair copyright if it wants a system fit for purpose in the 21st century."

This is only the first step of the EP procedure. Check here for more information, also on how to contact your government's relevant IP bodies to express your concern and opposition to this measure.

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