U.K. licensing body PPL organized a reception in Brussels to help artists press their case for a fair copyright term deal at the EU level.

The current term for copyright in sound recordings is 50 years and the European Commission proposed extending this to 95 years. The U.K. government has only publicly backed a 70-year term.

There was dismay in several sections of the biz when a vote in the European Council on March 27 went against the proposal. The Czech EU presidency is now working on the proposal for a second reading.

The reception at the Stanhope Hotel on April 1 was attended by musicians, MEPs, the Czech EU Presidency, the European Commission, permanent representatives and council members.

Musicians who attended included Pat Halling, violinist on hundreds of recordings including the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love," conductor Luis Cobos and Tom McGuinness of '60s band Manfred Mann.

At the meeting, musicians urged the EU to adopt the Term of Protection Directive, referring to the 38,000 musicians from across Europe and beyond who had signed a petition calling for a fair copyright term. They also thanked the Commission, which drafted the original proposal, and the Parliament, which approved the proposal at its legal committee meeting in February.

"We are grateful to the European Commission and the European Parliament which have responded to the request from musicians for a fair copyright term," said Dominic McGonigal, PPL's director of government relations. "We now ask that the Council approves these proposals and so puts an end to second class status for performers in Europe. Musicians do not want to hear that this legislation has failed because of political wranglings over inconsequential technicalities."

The directive includes a use-it-or-lose-it clause, so that artists can release their recordings themselves if their label does not do so during the extended period, as well as a fund that will ensure session musicians benefit from the extended term.

Meanwhile, U.K. government ministers have met with the U.K. biz to discuss the issue. Secretary of State for Culture Andy Burnham and Intellectual Property minister David Lammy spoke with representatives from the BPI, AIM, MMF and the Featured Artists Coalition yesterday.