Petitions from almost 6,200 individuals were presented to the British Treasury today (April 21) before the submission deadline for a government review on copyright.

Petitions from almost 6,200 individuals were presented to the British Treasury today (April 21) before the submission deadline for a government review on copyright.

The petitions, gathered from industry executives and musicians, call for an extension to Britain's current 50-year term of copyright on sound recordings.

U2 frontman Bono, the Shadows' Bruce Welch, Cliff Richard and Tom Jones are among the 4,300 artists who supported either of the two petitions.

Today's deadline is an element of a thorough review into intellectual property rights, which was launched Dec. 2, 2005 by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, the U.K.'s chief finance minister.

The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property takes its name from former Financial Times editor Andrew Gowers, who will conduct the review. It is due to present its report in late 2006.

The British and European music industry have enthusiastically campaigned in recent years to raise awareness among policy makers and legislators to bring IP rules in-line with those in other countries.

Across the European Union, the term of copyright protection for sound recordings expires 50 years after the first release of a sound recording. A change in the duration of copyright requires a ruling from the European Commission. Industry experts believe that an extension of the terms has more chances to be passed if major EU countries such as the United Kingdom or France advocate in favor of the changes.

"We have been absolutely astounded and very touched by the response we have had from performers on this," comments Fran Nevrkla, chairman and CEO of collecting society PPL, which presented its own petition today on behalf of performers. U.K. trade magazine Music Week presented a submission on behalf of music industry executives.

In a statement, legendary Welsh entertainer Tom Jones commented, "When you make music, you want to be able to leave it for your family. I don't understand why you don't own your music forever. When I first started out making music, I wasn't thinking about what was going to happen in 50 years time." Jones' career began in 1965 with a No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom on debut with "It's Not Unusual."

PPL estimates that more than 7,000 performers will see the tracks on which they performed fall into the public domain in the next 10 years. "Many artists have called us and said they had no idea they were discriminated against when it came to their rights as a performer," Nevrkla adds. "Some have even offered to give us money to help fund the campaign and whilst this will not be necessary, the spirit in which these suggestions were made was much appreciated."

In the United States, most sound recordings are protected for 95 years from the day of recording. For post-1976 recordings, coverage is artist's life plus 70 years.

Other countries with longer term of protection include Australia (70 years), Singapore (70), Mexico (75), Brazil (70), Turkey (70) and India (60).