Open Rights Group Urges on Fight to Stop Copyright Extension

Two years ago, copyright extension in the UK was shot down. Now copyright extension is not only back in the spot light for the British, but it is also drawing concern for digital rights activists as well.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Last time British copyright extension was brought up, the worry was how songs like those produced by the Beatles would fall into the public domain starting at 2012. There was concern, by some, that artists would be at a competitive disadvantage because American copyright laws for sound recordings if far longer then that of their British counterparts.

While the proposal to extend copyright laws in the UK two years ago has been shot down, it may not come to a surprise to some to see the issue brought up again now. It is expected that the Sound Recordings Bill will be into it’s second reading early next month. The Open Rights Group, a UK-based group of people who aims to preserve digital rights (citation) is urging British citizens to act or risk having the bill go through the Commons without debate.

“It is vital that you write to your MP now to ask him or her to attend the Commons on 7 March and stand up and object to this Bill.” Becky writes, “If you don’t the Bill is likely to pass through to committee stage without debate.”

She adds, “What can you say to persuade your MP to show up to the Commons on a Friday? Perhaps you might point out that all the economic evidence points against term extension. Or that every other UK citizen is expected to contribute to their pension out of income earned in their working life. Or that retrospectively extending copyright term won’t encourage Elvis Presley to record any more new tracks. Or that if governments continue to draft intellectual property legislation on behalf of special interest groups, it will only further erode the respect that ordinary citizens have for the letter of the law.”

Open Rights Group offers reading materials, among other things, they say would be helpful in making pitches to MPs. They include a letter writing guide.

“And as for the European front, expect news very soon of how you can get your voice heard as an EU citizen. Together, we can stop copyright term extension, but only if we take action!” She said.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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