Financial Times, Letters page
From Prof Martin Kretschmer
First, the justification of extension is dressed in the rhetoric of the performing artists who are, Mr McCreevy says, the ‘poor cousins’ of the music industry. The main economic and cultural effects of copyright extension, however, derive from the exclusive rights to the back catalogues of the record companies. Thus, contrary to Mr McCreevy, exclusive rights hinder follow-up innovation (such as sampling, multiple releases of the same record, or re-releases of music that had disappeared in the archives), while providing a steady cash flow from classical recordings to incumbent companies. Exclusive rights, by definition, also lead to higher consumer prices. This is why the record industry has spent so much energy lobbying European governments for this “Beatles Extension Act”, as the best-selling records of the 1960s come towards the end of their current 50-year term.
Mr McCreevy’s meaningless double negative is revealing: “Empirical studies on the price effects of copyright protection show that the price of sound recordings that are out of copyright is not necessarily lower (emphasis added) than that of sound recordings in copyright”. The 2004 Commission Staff Working Paper “on the review of the EC legal framework in the field of copyright and related rights” (SEC(2004) 995; p. 11) saw it differently: “It is feared that an extended term of protection would only diminish the choice of music on the market by enforcing the flow of revenues from a few best-selling recordings, while at the same time not providing any real new incentives for creation of new recordings or motivating new investment… Some would even argue that the term should be reduced”. The empirical evidence, reviewed by the Cambridge University Centre for Intellectual Property & Information Law (CIPIL) for the UK Gowers Review of Intellectual Property (2006), overwhelmingly supports that earlier view, not Commissioner McCreevy’s.
There is also unambiguous empirical evidence contradicting Mr McCreevy’s view that “this extension will benefit all artists – whether featured artists or session musicians”. Our own studies of artists’ earnings consistently show that only the top 10% of artists earn significant money from royalties. For the typical performing artist, we are talking of payments of less than £100 per year. Copyright law, structured as exclusive rights, is not the correct tool for meeting the moral obligation of society to reward living artists for the continuous use of their creative output. Subsidised pension schemes, or a reward mechanism outside copyright law (similar to the public lending right but applied to Internet use) are alternative policies available to national governments.
This is one of the instances where we have good empirical evidence for complex policymaking. The Commission’s capture by the record industry is unforgivable.
The published version of the letter can be found on the FT website.
As the culmination of a research project involving the creation of a digital resource concerning the history of copyright in five key jurisdictions; France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US, for the period before 1900, Professor Martin Kretschmer will be leading sessions at this prestigious gathering.
Alternatively, further information can be found at the Centre for Intellectual Property & Information Law website
This event has now concluded.
Although arranged primarily for Level H students from the BS LLB Intellectual Property Practice unit and DEC Product Design programme, you are welcome to join us at this event to hear the speakers and to observe this session, which is key to the students’ shared ‘adviser/client’ self managed learning assignment.
The assignment is an integral element of a CIPPM / DEC research project.
If you are not a member of the LLB IPP or Product Design student group, please contact the CIPPM Coordinator to book your place.
On September 17th, Martin Kretschmer was again in Berlin, this time at the SPD Wirtschaftsforum on the creative industries, with the German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück (on the right) and Edgar Berger, CEO of Sony BMG Germany (on the left).
Both talks were reported at golem.de, a widely read newsletter for the IT and communications industry.
On 13 July 2007, Prof. Martin Kretschmer led the closing session on The Economics of Authorship and Books at the Annual Congress of the Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues (SERCI) at Humboldt University, Berlin. The other speaker was Prof. Stan Liebowitz of the University of Texas.
Dr. Poola R K Murti was invited to CIPPM as a Visiting Academic for a period of six weeks. An Associate Professor at the University of Hyderabad, India, he specialises in Cyber Laws and IPR. In 2001, he floated the first University offered a Postgraduate Diploma Course in this subject in India. He specialises in Copyrights, Patents and IPR Education as well as Electronic Contracts and Cyber Crime.
During his stay at CIPPM, he participated in Student Seminars and attended the EU IP Teachers Network Workshop held at the Aston University. He was invited as a Discussant to the Session on Digital Signatures and ISPs at the Workshop on ‘Law and Economics of IP & IT’ held at Queen Mary College, University of London.
As an acknowledged "expert in the field", Professor Ruth Soetendorp has contributed to the Handbook of European Intellectual Property Management, published by Kogan Page in association with the European Patent Office. Ruth's chapter concerns Trade Secrets, where she gives practical suggestions to reduce the risks involved. According to consultant editor, Jeremy Philpott, "This Handbook equips businesses with strategic IP knowledge which will save them from costly mistakes, and bring them greater success in the future."
Professors Martin Kretschmer and Philip Hardwick's research into the financial struggle that authors face is now available to download. Please visit our Publications pages for further information.
Our previous events pages have been updated to include presentations and audio recordings from our recent Masterclass series.
Research by the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM) reveals the struggle that authors face to survive financially.
Results reveal that UK writers operate in a 'winner takes all' market. The typical UK author earns 33% less than the national average wage and that income continues to deteriorate in real terms. The survey compared the earnings of 25,000 authors in the UK and Germany.
The first ten years of a writers’ life would appear to be the toughest. The typical earnings of a British professional writer aged 25-34 are only £5,000 per annum - a third less than their counterparts in Germany. This age bracket takes in those repaying student loans, starting out on their careers, getting on the property ladder and starting a family.
Authors also receive little recompense for work that appears on the internet with less than 15% of authors surveyed receiving any payment for on-line use of their work.
Among the other key findings:
Martin Kretschmer said: “In an era where the creative industries are feted as a major contributor to the national economy (7-8% of GDP), it is somewhat surprising that no reliable figures on the career structure and earnings of the creative professions are available. CIPPM has tried to close this gap over many years. In 2004, the music sector was reviewed in a study for the Arts Council. Our latest study is focusing on authors in the literary and audio-visual sectors.
“The survey is the largest of its kind, and the first that was able to control the results against collecting society payments, as well as tax, insurance and labour force data held by the national statistics offices in Germany and the UK. In devising policies for an innovative and diverse creative sector, in particular in relation to copyright, there no longer the excuse: We didn't’t know.”
A summary of the study can be viewed here in (PDF - 173kb). The full report will be published in June 2007.
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