European organizations representing performers and the music industry have joined together to call on the Czech government to use the final weeks of its EU presidency to help deliver the European directive to increase copyright in sound recordings to 70 years.

The presidency will switch to Sweden for the second half of 2009. Sweden has previously voted against the proposal in the European Council.

The call for action is backed by the IFPI, indies body IMPALA, the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), AEPO-ARTIS, the Association of European Performers' Organizations, U.K. licensing body PPL and GIART, the International Organization of Peforming Artists.

"Failure to adopt the new law in the final two weeks of the Czech presidency would deliver a serious blow to a law that is a matter of fairness to artists across Europe," said the joint statement.

More than 38,000 performers from across Europe have signed a petition calling for longer copyright term.

"The vast majority of creators benefit from having their works protected by copyright throughout their lives plus 70 years thereafter," said Fran Nevrkla, chairman and CEO of PPL, in a statement. "It is only recording artists and other performers who are the second class citizens in the copyright environment because all their rights expire only 50 years after their recordings are first released."

He added: "I sincerely hope that the Czech Government and the current Czech presidency of the EU will have the wisdom and the courage to see to it that this historical discrimination against performers and the companies who continue to invest substantially each year in finding, nurturing and promoting new talent is finally remedied by extending the term of copyright protection for sound recordings to 70 years."

The European Parliament backed the term extension to 70 years on April 23, although EU governments will ultimately have to approve the change in the law in the European Council. The proposed dedicated fund for session musicians was backed by the Parliament and MEPs amended a provision relating to this fund to give collecting societies the right to administer the annual supplementary remuneration.

A vote of the European Council went against the directive on April 14, the second time it had stalled.

The copyright extension would apply to new recordings as well as existing recordings that are not yet out of copyright.