Barroso meets industry chiefs in Brussels.

French crooner Charles Aznavour and industry representatives met European Commission president José Manuel Barroso in Brussels today (Nov. 29) to push for an extension to European Union copyright protection for sound recordings.

Aznavour led a delegation that included IFPI chairman/CEO John Kennedy and EMI Music France director Hervé Defranoux for what was the first meeting between the Commission president and the recording industry. Barroso officially took the role Nov. 1, 2004.

Aznavour, 81, is an icon in Europe, yet his first recordings have now fallen into the public domain thanks to term of protection rules in Europe that expire after 50 years.

During the meeting, he told Barroso that the recording industry and artists were united in Europe in seeking an extension to the rules. For more than a year, the industry has vociferously campaigned to raise awareness among policy makers and legislators on the issue.

"Extension of term of protection would be good for European culture, positive for the European economy and would put an end the current discrimination with the U.S.," Aznavour said today.

The Commission -- the European Union's executive authority -- is due to publish a review of copyright rules in early 2007, entitled "Recasting Copyright." The industry says the publication would be a timely occasion to extend the term of copyright protection.

Under the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, sound recordings are protected for 95 years from the day of recording in the United States-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).

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