The U.K. biz is facing up to a lengthy delay before making any progress on the issue of term extension for copyright in sound recordings.

Following an earlier setback in March, when the term directive was initially rejected in a vote of the Council of the European Union, the proposal has again been blocked.

The U.K. government had altered its position from no change, and given its backing to the increase of copyright term from 50 to 70 years (the original European Commission plan had been for a 95-year term). But several countries were still blocking the directive when it was discussed again last week.

Although it is likely the directive will now miss the opportunity for a first reading in the EU and is unlikely to progress this year under the presidency of Sweden, the U.K. government is putting a brave face on the setback.

"It is clear that that outcome will not kill off the proposals to extend copyright term but rather that member states need more time to consider the details of the proposal and reach an agreement," said a spokesperson for the U.K. Intellectual Property Office. "The blocking minority vote against the current proposal will not end the process.

"We should not be surprised by this, as few proposals are concluded as quickly as this. The number of technical issues still being raised indicates the need for careful consideration before agreement will be found. We are confident that the additional time we have will allow us to reach an agreement for performers on this issue."

There were previously issues surrounding the session fund measure, for which record companies would set aside part of the additional revenues for performers, and the clean slate proposal to prevent the use of previous contractual agreements by labels to deduct money from the additional royalties. It is understood the U.K. government had got other countries supporting the directive to agree to changes it wanted to make these measures permanent, enabling Britain to back the directive, but it was not enough.

"The U.K. supported the proposal of an extension to 70 years with permanent benefits to performers," added the spokesperson. "We are obviously disappointed that we could not get agreement to go straight to a deal with the Parliament, but do remain confident that we can get there."