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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 13:50 GMT
Bands set for longer music rights
Roger Daltrey
Roger Daltrey has been calling for extended music rights
Music performers could see a big boost to their lifetime earnings under planned changes to music rights proposed by the European Commission.

The Commission wants to extend the copyright period for music performers from 50 years to 95 years.

British stars like Cliff Richard and Roger Daltrey have been pushing for such a move, but the UK government has resisted changing the rules.

The Commission says it will also benefit less well known musicians.

Musician's money

The European Union's internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy said that "copyright protection for Europe's performers represents a moral right to control the use of their work and earn a living from their performances".

"It is the performer who gives life to the composition and while most of us have no idea who wrote our favourite song, we can usually name the performer," he said.

The copyright for a song or piece of music, and the money that earns, is split into two parts.

Performance and sound recording rights usually go to the singer, band, musicians and technicians.

Publishing rights, which cover the lyrics and sheet music will either be owned by the writer, or a music label.

They last for the lifetime of the writer plus 70 years.

'No pensions'

Thursday's proposal was highly significant for the musicians and technicians "who only receive a small share of performance income from the exploitation of recordings for a limited period of time," said Lee Gage of lawyers Harbottle & Lewis.

He added that "session performers and other non-featured musicians" would especially benefit from the changes.

The Who singer Roger Daltrey, and Sir Cliff Richard are among the artists who have spoken out against the UK government's decision not to extend music copyright laws.

Mr Daltrey said thousands of artists had "no pensions and rely on royalties".

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