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Sync Licensing

How Long Does Music Copyright Last?

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


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How Long Does Music Copyright Last?

It has now been passed that copyright in sound recordings has been increased from 50 years to 70 years.

This means that from the day a track is published performers can enjoy 70 years’ worth of protection. This largely helps out the ageing musician, especially for the all-time greatest song owners who will now likely benefit their whole life from song royalties. Now I personally see this as a very good thing as I believe performers should receive income from their songs as long as possible, especially as performers reach retirement it is comforting to know you still have a form of income to keep you going.

Furthermore, the following new measures have been introduced for 50-year-old copyrights to benefit the performer in the remaining 20 years.

This includes:

  • A “session fund” paying performers (including session musicians as you may have guessed) 20 per cent of revenues from sales of their recordings.
  • A “clean slate” provision, whereby a producer may not make deductions from payments to performers. Meaning performers keep a larger sum of income.
  • A “use it or lose it” clause – this is my favourite as it allows performers to claim back their performance rights in sound recordings if they are not being commercially exploited meaning new deals can be negotiated which is a benefit in a rapidly changing industry.

UK Music welcomes today’s announcement on extending the term of copyright for sound recordings. We are pleased that the Government is implementing changes that acknowledge the importance of copyright to performers and record companies. This change will mean creators can rightfully continue to make a living from their intellectual property and works.

Jo Dipple, Chief Executive, of UK Music

This is great news for all performers in music and a change I warmly welcome.


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