After almost ten years of campaigning, performers and record companies have won a fair copyright term.

On Monday 12 September 2011, the Council of the European Union agreed to extend the copyright term for performers and record companies from 50 to 70 years from release of the recording.

Welcoming the news, PPL Chairman and CEO Fran Nevrkla said, "This is a tremendous development and we must recognise the goodwill of the politicians in Britain and other parts of Europe who understood that this key change in the copyright legislation was long overdue. I am delighted that we at PPL, jointly with our many thousands of individual performer and record company members, have been able to play an important role in this process.

"It is not possible to overstate the effectiveness of the sterling work by many individual PPL performers who signed copyright petitions, lobbied Parliament here and in Brussels and generally remained completely engaged and determined to succeed. This copyright change will mean that the PPL income streams will continue to flow through to the whole community of recording artists, orchestral players, session musicians, backing singers and other performers for an additional period of 20 years which is so important, especially when those individuals reach ripe old age and are no longer able to exercise their profession. The enhanced copyright framework will also enable the record companies, big and small, to continue investing in new recordings and new talent."

The copyright extension was also welcomed by other British music industry bodies including the BPI, The Musician's Union and AIM. The organisations hailed the approval of the Directive as an enormously positive step forward for everyone in British music – including music fans, featured artists, session musicians, producers and record labels.

The Directive is expected to be implemented across all EU Member States by 2013, extending the term of protection from 50 to 70 years for performers and producers of recorded music.

Additional measures are contained in the Directive to ensure that both featured artists and session musicians reap the benefit of a longer copyright term, including:

  • A substantial new fund for session musicians from record company revenues in the extended term.
  • A requirement for labels to make sure all recordings are commercially available, failing which the artist will be entitled to release their recordings themselves.
  • A 'clean slate' for featured artists, writing off any unrecouped advances so that artists receive full royalties in the extended term.