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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 November 2006, 11:38 GMT
Public 'support longer copyright'
Sir Cliff Richards
Sir Cliff wants musicians to receive royalty payments for longer
Almost two-thirds of the British public support a move to extend the number of years musicians can receive royalties for their work, a survey suggests.

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

But 62% of people polled by YouGov for the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) think UK artists should be protected for 95 years, as they are in the US.

A UK government review on copyright will be published later this month.

The BPI has led the campaign to extend the number of years artists can receive royalties.

Pensions threat

They have found a vocal spokesperson in Sir Cliff Richard, whose debut hit, Move It, would go out of copyright in 2008 under current law.

Earlier this year, he told the BBC that singers wanted the same rights as songwriters, who get royalties for life plus 70 years.

"It seems to me we should ask for parity," he said. "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." said Sir Cliff.

But the British Library has opposed extending copyright, saying it would endanger the UK's national music archive.

The library's Sound Archive cannot copy audio from fragile or obsolete formats for posterity until copyright runs out.

If copyright is extended beyond 50 years, it argues, a "significant" part of the collection could "decay and be unavailable for future generations".

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