British neighboring rights collecting society PPL, the Musicians Union and labels body the BPI have thrown their support behind Peter Wishart's ambition to change the current legislation on the U.K.'s term of copyright.

Scottish Nationalist Peter Wishart, Member of Parliament for Perth and North Perthshire and a former member of Scottish rock band Runrig, is to present a Private Members Bill to extend the duration of Copyright in Sound Recordings and of Performers' Rights.

Wishart's proposal, contained within "The Copyright In Sound Recordings and Performers' Rights (Term Extension) Bill 2008," will seek to extend the current term of copyright for performers and producers from 50 years to 95 years.

Wishart's Bill will officially be presented on March 7 at the House of Commons, having received its first reading on Dec. 5, 2007.

Fran Nevrkla, chairman/CEO of PPL/VPL, a tireless campaigner on fair terms for artists, has vowed to stand by Wishart. "We shall spare no effort and leave no stone unturned by working closely with the rest of the music industry as well as our key supporters in Parliament," comments Nevrkla in a statement, "especially Pete Wishart MP, Michael Connarty MP and many others from all Parties, until justice is done and the long overdue copyright parity is achieved."

Geoff Taylor, CEO of the BPI, describes the proposed bill as "a further demonstration of the strong support within the U.K. Parliament for the rights of artists and the creative companies that invest in them," adding an extension of copyright term would "address the unfairness" in the current system.

"The Musicians' Union welcomes Pete Wishart's Bill," added John Smith, general secretary of the MU. "The fact that performers rights are expiring during a performer's lifetime is indefensible and, we believe, morally wrong."

Advocates of an extension in the term of copyright were given a shot in the arm when European Union internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy on Feb. 14 gave his explicit support for a new term, rising from the current 50-year period to 95 years.

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