The European Commission has recently proposed changes to music rights that could help songwriters and composers see a big boost to their lifetime earnings.
The Commission wants to extend the copyright period from 50 to 95 years. As it stands, present copyright law in Europe means that the writer of a piece of music can only claim financial ownership of his own work – and thereby earn money from it – for a period not longer than 50 years; after that, the work enters the public domain.
If it is allowed to go ahead, the initiative will not only benefit more mature and long-established writers, but also less well known musicians. I for one think it is a prudent and well thought-out suggestion that deserves serious consideration. British stars like Sir Elton John and Roger Daltrey have been pushing for such a move for years, but the UK government has resisted changing the rules.
In a spirit of good will and bonhomie, I wrote a letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown informing him that I will cannibalise his first-born if he does not drop his government’s objections to the proposal. His office replied fairly swiftly with a promise of arrest and a long jail sentence. But I’m having none of it: my contempt for him and his cronies over this matter overcomes any intimidation I might otherwise be feeling in the face of such threats.
Have a heart, Gordon – spare a thought for the little guy. Sting and Cliff Richard and Paul McCartney and I deserve all the royalties we can get for as long as we can get them.