Pirate politician calls for block on EU copyright extension

A European Parliamentarian accuses lawmakers of pandering to lobbyists and big business

A member of the European Parliament (MEP) has made a last-ditch call to block plans to extend the copyright protection time for music recordings from 50 to 70 years.

In April, Christian Engström from the Swedish Pirate Party, along with 40 other members of the European Parliament, asked for a review of the decision to extend the copyright protection term. Last Friday they received notification that their request has been denied.

Engström believes the timing is significant as the issue could be on the agenda for the European Council meeting on Wednesday. "I have not managed to find the agenda on the Council's website, but the information comes from one of the permanent representations here in Brussels," he said.

If approved by the Council, the proposal will become law. "This is despite the fact that the extension has met massive criticism from the academic world, including the Hargreaves Review that was presented to the British government earlier this year," added Engström.

Currently Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the Netherlands are against the move, but this is five votes short of a blocking minority.

In a scathing attack on the motivations of lawmakers, Engström said: "The purpose of the European Union is to keep the various lobbyists for big business happy, in this case the big record companies that own the rights to 80 percent of all music that has been recorded in history. If the copyright term extension goes through this week, they will be very happy with their politicians who delivered."

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

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