Gowers Admits That Evidence Suggests UK Should Shorten Copyright Length, Not Extend It

from the could-have-mentioned-that-earlier dept

Late last year in the UK the infamous "Gowers Report" on intellectual property was issued, while it recommended not extending copyright terms on performances, some of us felt that the report was too balanced for its own good. Gowers seemed to go out of his way to make sure the report gave a little to everyone -- and therefore basically gave nothing to anyone. Rather than looking at the fundamental issues, it just tried to give a little bit here to one side and a little bit there to another. Of course, the copyright term extension got the most attention -- with supporters of term extension mistakenly thinking that copyright is a welfare system to perpetually support musicians rather than an incentive system for the creation of new content. Now that the report is all published and done with, apparently Andrew Gowers is willing to admit that when they did their actual research and investigation, they found that the economic evidence supported making copyright terms even shorter than the existing 50 years. However, recognizing that decreasing the length would have created howls of outrage from the industry that still thought it had a chance for extending the term, he simply recommended leaving it alone. Of course, it should come as no surprise to those of us around here that the economic evidence would suggest society is better off with shorter copyright terms -- but it's disappointing that Gowers had to wait until well after the report was released to even make that basic point. At least it's one more hole in the myth that longer copyrights must be good for society. The entire interview makes for an interesting read, though (as fits with his report) Gowers keeps focusing on the importance of "balance" between two opposing extremes, as if they're competing. At some point it would be nice for people to realize that there are solutions where everyone can benefit.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Evostick, 30 Apr 2007 @ 4:46am

    50 years, just mechanical copy write

    Note that this is just for recordings. It says nothing about the copy write on the song itself (life + 70 years I think), just that particular recording.

    50 years for a recording of a song seems very long, especially considering how quickly/cheaply things can be recorded now. 1 weeks work for a lifetime of cash.

    (N.B. Ususally, whoever pays for the studio time owns the mechanical copywrite. This is usually the labels. They are the ones that are complaining, not the artist)

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

Introducing the new Techdirt Insider Chat, now hosted on Discord. If you are an Insider with a membership that includes the chat feature and have not yet been invited to join us on Discord, please reach out here.

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.