Brussels, 18th February 2008 – The music sector joined forces in welcoming the announcement by EU Internal Market Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, that he will shortly come forward with a proposal to close the term of protection gap. Tens of thousands of performers, music publishers, independent and major record producers and entertainment retailers have been calling for an improvement of copyright term in Europe to match the term provided by the EU’s major trading partners.
Performers and producers are provided with 50 years’ protection on music recordings in the European Union, compared to 95 years provided in the United States. Improving the 50-year term of protection is a matter of fairness for the tens of thousands of talented performers who contribute to Europe’s exciting, diverse musical culture. An increasing number of performers are losing this revenue stream later in life at a time when they most need it, as their early works fall into the public domain. Moreover, this is happening at a time when the Internet provides the opportunity to revive the career of older artists and find new audiences for early recordings.
The music sector therefore applauded Commissioner McCreevy’s timely initiative which has the potential to have a very positive impact on the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people working in the European music sector.  We also call on the Commission to use this opportunity to harmonise the terms of protection for co-written musical works and eliminate the discrepancy for performers as regards when term will expire.

FIM – International Musicians’ Union  
GERA Europe – Global Entertainment Retail Association-Europe
GIART – International Organisation of Performing Artists
ICMP - International Confederation of Music Publishers
IFPI – Representing the Recording Industry Worldwide
IMPA - International Music Publishers Association
IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

Comments from the Music Sector:

John F Smith, President, FIM (International Federation of Musicians): “This is great news for thousands of musicians and we are especially delighted that the Commission has acted to benefit session musicians. The proposed fund as well as a use it or lose it clause could indeed contribute to ensuring that the extended term is of practical benefit to performers. We are indebted to our friends and colleagues across the music industry for their ongoing support in achieving this most welcome of outcomes. This is a clear sign that the music community working together has a powerful voice.”

Kim Bayley, Director, Gera-Europe: “The European retail community praises the Commission for recognising that EU talent needs to be placed on an equal basis with its international competitors.  Supporting European talent will help secure the future of a vibrant music and entertainment retail market.”

Luis Cobos, President, GIART: “I applaud the initiative of Commissioner McCreevy. This is a first step towards a better protection of the creative efforts of hundreds of thousands of performing artists. I hope that the Commission will continue in this direction.”

Kjell Ake Hamrén, Chairman, ICMP: "This is a way ahead for the performing artists which music publishers fully support. We are also looking to the Commission for the effective harmonisation in the EU of the copyright term on lyrics and music together in operas and songs.”

John Kennedy, Chairman & CEO, IFPI: “We applaud Commissioner McCreevy for the vision he has shown in keeping creativity right at the centre of the European economy. Only by putting its creative community on the same footing as its international partners can the EU promote vital investment in young talent and new music, all of which will help to secure Europe’s future as an exciting and diverse music market. ”

Helen Smith, Executive Chair, IMPALA: “The Commissioner's rationale embodies the fundamental principle that copyright is an enabler, facilitating creativity and innovation which is essential to the Lisbon strategy. This will be a huge boost to Europe's performers and independent labels who, by discovering new talent and genres of music, naturally produce music which depends on its long shelf life being recognised.”

IMPALA was established in April 2000 to help independent music companies represent their own agenda and promote the expansion and competitiveness of independent music in the interests of entrepreneurial and cultural diversity. IMPALA is the only cultural and creative SME association in Brussels.

99% of Europe’s music companies are SMEs. Known as the “independents”, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists - they produce more than 80% of all new releases. They are also key employers, providing more than half the jobs in the whole sector. Their potential is enormous but is hampered by complex barriers to trade and severe market access problems. The impact on diversity, consumer choice and pluralism is clear. Over 95% of what most people hear and see, whether on radio, retail or the internet, is concentrated in the hands of four multinationals, known as the majors”.

Cultural and creative SMEs are now officially recognised by the EU as “the drivers of growth, job creation and innovation”.  IMPALA expects the EC and its member countries to put in place key investment, digital and market access measures. Fostering Europe's economy of culture and diversity is one of the EU's top priorities in becoming the world's leading knowledge economy. Culture is a bigger earner than any of chemicals, automobiles or ICT manufacturing and provides more than 3% of Europe's jobs.

IMPALA has 4,000 members including the top independents: !K7 (Germany), Beggars Group (UK), Bonnier Amigo (Sweden), CLS Music (Hungary), CNR (NL), Cooking Vinyl (UK), Edel (Germany), Epitaph (US/NL), Gazell (Sweden), Menart doo (SIovenia), Musicvertrieb (Switzerland), Naïve (France), Odyssey (Ukraine), PIAS Group (Belgium), Playground (Sweden), Red Bullet (NL), Soyuz Music (Russia), SPV (Germany), Wagram (France), as well as national trade associations from the UK (AIM), France (UPFI), Germany (VUT), Spain (UFI), Italy (PMI), Belgium (BIMA), Denmark (DUP), Norway (FONO), Israel (PIL) and Sweden (SOM) and the Catalonian association APECAT.

For further queries, please see or contact IMPALA on T: + 32 2 503 31 38, IMPALA, Coudenberg 70, B-1000, Brussels.