International trade body IFPI will try to gain the support of the French government on the issue of the extension of copyright duration for recorded music in Europe during a meeting today (May 18) in

International trade body IFPI will try to gain the support of the French government on the issue of the extension of copyright duration for recorded music in Europe during a meeting today (May 18) in Paris with French minister of culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, Billboard.biz has learned.

"We have the opportunity to speak to the minister," says Frances Moore, director of IFPI's regional office for Europe. "Copyright term is the main issue for us and the French government can play a major role."

France, alongside Spain, Portugal and Italy, will hold an informal cultural summit later next month in Spain. IFPI hopes that on this occasion France -- and the other countries -- will spearhead the call for copyright extension. The European Commission is due to make a proposal on the issue in 2006. In the European Union, duration of protection is currently 50 years. The IFPI would like to see it extended to at least 90 years.

The meeting in Paris will gather IFPI chairman/CEO John Kennedy, EMI Music vice chairman David Munns, Sony BMG COO Michael Smellie, Universal Music international chairman/CEO Jorgen Larsen and Warner Music International chairman/CEO Paul-Rene Albertini. Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and members of national groups involved in the board activities will also be present.

Moore says two other issues are on the meeting's agenda -- the VAT rate on recorded music; and the market situation. On the VAT front, IFPI is expecting that France will continue to push for recorded music to be given the lowest rate. Last week, the European Commission opened the door for a possible softening of its rules on VAT, but limited it to restaurants.

"We think recorded music should also be added to the list," says Moore. "This was one of the promises from president Jacques Chirac when he was a candidate to the presidential elections, and we hope he will deliver."

The IFPI will also update Donnedieu de Vabres on the market situation, especially with regards to online piracy and litigation.

An IFPI board meeting will take place tomorrow (May 19) in Paris, during which the members will review the organization's main priorities. Billboard.biz understands that board members will be updated on the state of the anti-piracy and litigation -- with a new wave of lawsuits in consideration -- as well as educational initiatives targeting parents.

China will also be on the menu, with an overview of the market potential, the state of piracy, and the need for enforcement.

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