Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group says of the matter:
Despite the rhetoric, small artists will gain very little from this, while our cultural heritage takes a massive blow by denying us full access to these recordings for another generation.Two recent reviews by British governments (Gowers, December 2006 and Hargreaves, May 2011) have examined the support for such protection and have been highly skeptical regarding the supposed benefits further extensions offer smaller artists. The more recent of the two reviews was very clear on this point:
Copyright Term Extension
Economic evidence is clear that the likely deadweight loss to the economy exceeds any additional incentivising effect which might result from the extension of copyright term beyond its present levels. This is doubly clear for retrospective extension to copyright term, given the impossibility of incentivising the creation of already existing works, or work from artists already dead.
Despite this, there are frequent proposals to increase term, such as the current proposal to extend protection for sound recordings in Europe from 50 to 70 or even 95 years. The UK Government assessment found it to be economically detrimental. An international study found term extension to have no impact on output.
Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, Chapter 2, Section 2.16, page 19
|PJ Harvey, 2008|
© Phil King, Flickr
The new extension does offer more protection to those musicians working in groups. The new terms state that the "term of protection will expire 70 years after the death of the last person to survive: the author of the lyrics or the composer of the music". Given that 2012 was the year that many seminal pieces of music from the 1960s (ie The Beatles and The Rolling Stones) were due thought to be about to enter the public domain, it's perhaps inevitable that copyright protection has been extended ever further. Ringo and Paul might breathe a sigh of relief as their individual longevity benefits them both. It's a fairly safe prediction that around 2030 there will be highly vocal lobbying on behalf of the recording industry to extend the new terms to 95 years, or forever less one day.