In a development which will stun British music industry lobbyists, the U.K. government has backed the Gowers Review on intellectual property.

Britain's department for culture, media and sport today confirmed its stance when it issued its formal response to a select committee's call to extend the term of copyright on sound recordings.

In the 18-page response, the government explained that it would not budge from recommendations outlined in the Treasury-commissioned Gowers study, which supported the current 50-year term be retained.

"An independent report, commissioned by the European Commission as part of its ongoing work in reviewing the copyright acquis, also considered the issue of term. It reached the same overall conclusion as the Gowers Review," the report writes.

"Taking account for the findings of these reports, which carefully considered the impact on the economy as a whole, and without further substantive evidence to the contrary, it does not seem appropriate for the government to press the Commission for action at this stage."

Although it will not come as a complete surprise, the government's stance still delivers a black eye to the industry, which had campaigned tirelessly for an extension in the term to protect artists' copyrights on recorded performances from the current 50 years to beyond 70 years.

Cross-industry reaction to the government's response was swift. In a show of solidarity, representatives from the BPI, the IFPI, PPL/VPL, Musicians' Union, AIM, and a string of artists, replied through a single statement.

"The government's refusal to accept the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee's recommendation on extending copyright for sound recordings," the organizations write, "represents a failed test of its support for British musicians, performers and music consumers."

Industry sources had informed late last week that the government would side with Gowers.