European Intellectual Property Scholars: Copyright Extension Harms Innovation

from the good-for-them dept

Following the EU’s misguided proposal to extend performance copyrights on songs from 50 years to 95 years, a group of professors from intellectual property, legal and innovation positions, have gotten together to send a highly critical letter, pointing out why such a copyright extension is not necessary and, in fact, will be quite harmful. Here’s a snippet of the letter:

Unanimously, the European centres for intellectual property research have opposed the proposal. The empirical evidence has been summarised succinctly in at least three studies: the Cambridge Study for the UK Gowers Review of 2006; a study conducted by the Amsterdam Institute for Information Law for the Commission itself (2006); and the Bournemouth University statement signed by 50 leading academics in June 2008.

The simple truth is that copyright extension benefits most those who already hold rights. It benefits incumbent holders of major back-catalogues, be they record companies, ageing rock stars or, increasingly, artists’ estates. It does nothing for innovation and creativity. The proposed Term Extension Directive undermines the credibility of the copyright system. It will further alienate a younger generation that, justifiably, fails to see a principled basis.

Hopefully, European politicians will actually pay attention to this condemnation of the proposed extension.

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Comments on “European Intellectual Property Scholars: Copyright Extension Harms Innovation”

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Shaun Wilson says:

Respect for the rule of law

It will further alienate a younger generation that, justifiably, fails to see a principled basis.

As part of the “younger generation” at 20 years old (though intending on entering the copyright intensive computer games industry) I definitely agree with this statement. More than that however I think it creates a large problem in that it promotes disrespect for the law in general – if copyright laws are stupid and without basis why should any law be different?

Huh, funny it seams I’m almost agreeing with the movie industry that breaking copyright law leads to other lawbreaking. Of course we differ in that I think the root cause of this problem, if it exists (and I’m not sure it does) is the law itself. Copyright infringement is as natural as was drinking during prohibition in the US or taking illegal drugs nowadays. Though personally I never take any mind altering substances* I fully support others rights to do so, from passing out drunk to getting completely high, it is your decision not mine, as long as you don’t endanger me or anyone else then go right ahead.

*legal or otherwise – I even don’t use painkillers though that is more that painkillers don’t seem to work on me (from headache tablets to 80mg codeine/1000mg paracetamol every 4-6 hours when I had a knee injury!) rather than my moral/aesthetic/worrying about the damage to myself/others concerns for other substances (though I would have some similar slight concerns if I ever needed really heavy duty medication – if it would even work on me)

Eh enough rambling, need to post this already!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Respect for the rule of law

I think it creates a large problem in that it promotes disrespect for the law in general

Amen to that. With all the executive-branch law breaking and bending, I’m certainly losing respect for our federal government. “Because we said so”, or “because it makes some of our friends more wealthy”, aren’t acceptable reasons to obey a law. Especially when most laws these days are written by corporate lobbyists with and agenda.


Here is my plan:

1. Individuals may donate as much as they want.
2. Corporations donate to a general fund; why would they need more pull than the votes of their employees???
3. Any corporation’s board of directors funneling money through individuals directly to a candidate will be burned at the stake for tampering with democracy 🙂

Formerly anonymous Coward says:

Campaign Finance Reform

I have a different idea:

1. Write in votes only. (on all elected officials)
2. No broadcast mediums only communication. (see how long it takes politician to figure out the difference then.)
3. No cash donations, only time and volunteerism.

This way your politician knows how much power the individual voter actually has, and if you have concerns they better address them. If the people you are representing don’t know your name it will be alot harder to get in office, and if you don’t answer their questions you will lose the only real campaigning left to you. (word of mouth)

Avorist says:

As a european, I was very shocked to see that such an unnecessary (and biased) piece of legislation was passed.

This has caused my belief in the EUs system of government to take a final hit (in the past, it had already taken quite a beating). This, however, is the final nail in the coffin for a government which is struggling very hard to get the respect and support of european citizens (I nod my head to Ireland).

I have already on this opinion to my representative in the european parliament, but of course I dont have much hope of it making a difference (seeing as I’m not a big industry representative…).

The EU has herewith lost another supporter (how many more can they afford to lose in the future?)

bikey (profile) says:


When will Europeans realize that it’s US lobbyists, and not academics that the Commissions listens to. Also, more than ‘performers’ these benefits go to record companies, lumped together with broadcasters as neighboring rights. Labeling this a benefit for poor performers is the same trick as 17th century printers saying ‘it’s about the poor authors’. It never was, it never will be. Performers will continue to get screwed, just as they always have. It’s the lobbies, Europe.

Pat says:

Patent Industry Doomed

Design innovation is greatly hampered by not having a system constructed to facilitate the industry, and to make it easy for all those who should earn from new ideas to earn from those ideas, and to collaborate in a manner that actually enables patents to be protected, or to prevent offshore knockoffs so that the patent process is frustrated by non-uniform laws.

For those persons who are already invested heavily in the patent industry, there is more incentive to steal ideas and products than to prevent it, and that is not the “idea” of making a patent or copyright system to begin with.

Funny how this “problem” gets much discussed, much written about, but never solved – even with incentive in America to do so. Thus, the cart perpetually leads the horse.

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