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.