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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 July 2007, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Copyright ruling angers artists
Roger Daltrey
Roger Daltrey's band The Who had their first hit in 1965
The Who singer Roger Daltrey is among the artists who have spoken out against the UK government's decision not to extend music copyright laws.

Ministers have ruled the 50-year limit on sound recordings will stay in place, meaning musicians will stop receiving royalties for old songs in later life.

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

But the government said most artists would not benefit from an extension because of their record contracts.

The majority of musicians had contracts requiring them to pass royalties back to their record labels, the government said.

It also concluded that an extension would lead to increased costs for consumers, who would be forced to pay for royalties for longer.

They are not asking for a handout, just a fair reward for their creative endeavours
Roger Daltrey
The Who
Record labels and some artists - led by Sir Cliff Richard - are campaigning to have the copyright term extended to at least 70 years.

Daltrey, whose first recordings will go out of copyright in seven years, said ageing musicians had "poured money into the British economy and enriched people's lives".

"They are not asking for a handout, just a fair reward for their creative endeavours," he said.

Singer Joe Brown - who had his first hit in 1960 - said British musicians were being "punished".

The Jam's Bruce Foxton said: "I've played bass on all The Jam tracks and all we've been asking is that we can earn royalties from those recordings, assuming people keep buying them.

"Now I will be faced with losing all that when the time comes - and at a point when age will seriously limit my other earning opportunities."

This was a test of government support for British music, which it has failed
Geoff Taylor
In the US, performers keep copyright for 95 years after the song has been released, while the level is 70 years in Australia.

The House of Commons culture, media and sport committee recommended the extension of UK copyright in a report in May.

Its suggestion came after an 18-month inquiry into the effects of new technology on the creative industries.

Geoff Taylor chief executive of the UK music industry trade body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said: "This was a test of government support for British music, which it has failed.

"Ministers... have ignored the views of artists and their union, managers, record labels and now even a parliamentary select committee."

The committee also urged the government to re-think the laws regarding copying music for personal use - such as from a CD to an MP3 player - and make it legal.

The government said it realised many people were aware that such personal copying was not currently legal. "Of those who are, many simply do not care," it said.

The industry and public will be consulted this autumn before a decision is made about any changes to the law.

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