News Detail

03.09.2009

FIA calls for equal extension of term of protection for all performers

The European Commission is planning to extend the term of protection of the intellectual property rights of performers from 50 to 95 years, to take account of their longer life expectancy and also of the greater commercial lifespan of their work, especially in the digital new media environment. However, this proposal fails to meet its full objectives by limiting its scope to audio performances and phonogram producers only. As a result, performers would be granted a different term of protection, depending on the nature of their recording. Under this plan, audiovisual fixations would continue to benefit from a lesser and inappropriate term of 50 years. In addition to this arbitrary discrimination, performers’ rights would become increasingly difficult to manage, as the audio and visual part of a same performance can be fixed and exploited both jointly and separately.

Despite the inconsistency of this measure, the European Parliament seems also inclined to limit this new provision to audio recordings, though calling on the Commission to conduct an impact assessment study to determine whether or not a similar extension is equally justified in the audiovisual field.

At a press conference held at the European Parliament on 3 March 2009, FIA’s President Agnete Haaland has urged the Parliament and the Council to extend the term of protection to all performers. “I frankly do not understand why when my voice is recorded I get a 95-year protection and when my image is also recorded I only get 50 years. Why would my appearance be less important than my voice? It simply does not make any sense. I am a performer and deserve to be protected as a whole, no matter if my work is recorded on a CD or on a DVD”, Agnete said. She then urged decision-makers to take bold decisions that could really improve the livelihood of performers and read, also on behalf of sister federation FIM and several collecting societies, a joint statement calling for a successful adoption of this directive and its extension also to the audiovisual sector. This joint statement can be downloaded below.

The European Parliament is expected to meet in a plenary meeting on the week of March 23 to adopt its final position.

Read the joint statement