The European Commission has adopted a proposal to extend the term of protection for performers and sound recordings from the current 50 years to 95 years. The Commission has stated that the proposal will bring performers’ protection in line with that of authors in the European Union, which is 70 years after their death.

The increased period will allow performers to earn greater remuneration from the exploitation of their works for a longer time. Proponents argue that this extension is important for those who often do not have a salaried income and is especially relevant towards the end of the performers’ lives.

The Commission also stated that this extension should benefit record producers who will generate additional revenue from retail and online sales of records. The overall intention of the copyright extension is, in part, to offset some of the loss of revenue caused by the decline in the sales of physical media, such as CDs, and the slow development in strategies to effectively generate revenue from online sales.

A new proposed “use-it-or-lose-it” clause in contracts with record producers will also enable performers to recover their rights if the producer does not market the work during the extended period. In the event that neither party exploits the work within one year after the term extension, the work will become free for the public to use.

McCarthy Tétrault Notes:

Currently in Canada, performers’ rights and rights of sound recording makers last for 50 years from the first fixation or performance.