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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Sir Cliff backs royalty campaign
Sir Cliff Richards
Sir Cliff wants musicians to receive royalty payments for longer

Sir Cliff Richard is backing a campaign by the UK music industry to extend the number of years musicians can receive royalties for their work.

Currently, performers in the UK can receive payments for 50 years, at which point their work goes out of copyright.

But Sir Cliff says they should be given the same rights as songwriters, who get royalties for life plus 70 years.

"It seems to me we should ask for parity," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "It doesn't seem just."

According to the singer, many musicians recording in the 1950s rely on their copyright payments as a pension.

"It seems terribly wrong that 50 years on they lose everything from it."

Sometimes I'm absolutely fed up with singing Living Doll, but I have sung it constantly since '59 because every time I sing it live that generates sales of the original record and that brings royalties to me and the writer
Sir Cliff Richard

Sir Cliff admitted that his long success had insulated him, to a certain extent, from the problems other musicians might face.

"I still have records that will take another 50 years to go out of copyright."

However, he insisted that singers were as crucial to the success of a piece of music as its composers.

Government review

"We are as important to a song as the writer is because we give it life," said Sir Cliff.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has led the campaign to extend the number of years artists can receive royalties. The US extended copyright protection for sound recordings from 50 years to 95 years in 1998.

A UK Government review on sound copyright is in its final week, and the European Commission is to report on the issue next year.

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