Lobbying does pay off

Financial Times reported last Saturday that the EU Commission is expected to push ahead with a proposal to extend the copyright protection for performing artists (singers, musicians) from 50 to 95 years. Two EU commissioners are said to have opposed this move on the grounds it would mainly benefit top selling artists and record companies. Why then going ahead? As usual, the answer is political horse trading. A trade off, the extension in exchange for a more competition among copyright “collecting societies” by offering better (and cheaper) administration for the right to handle an artist’s performing rights.

How come we seem to experience an ever increasing protection and IP strength for copyright owners whereas patent owners seem to struggle to get an equal share of protective care and interest in Brussels. Why would great innovators’ efforts be lesser a right to be protected for a longer than life time? The simple answer, copyright owners are outperforming their patent peers in effective lobbying. Look what happened during the discussions on the CII (EU computer software legislation), no position paper from industry why software patenting was desirable, not a single effective lobby attempt aimed at EU parliament members (where the anti software lobby was extremely vocal and effective). Time for patent owners to get their act together. If the “lobby” to get the Community Patent approved is any yardstick of success, I am pessimistic that the copyrighters wil keep on outperforming patenteers.

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