Making a song and a dance about IP

This week is likely to see the publication of the much-anticipated, and slightly leaked, Gowers Review of Intellectual Property.

Most of the press interest in the review has centred on the major record companies’ – and Sir Cliff Richards’ – lobbying to extend the copyright term on sound recordings from 50 to 95 years.

If, as it appears, this isn’t going to happen, is it really going to make any difference? Olswang‘s John Enser, for one, doesn’t think so: “The first great rock ‘n’ roll records are out of copyright, but what’s actually happened is there’s been a lot of cheap and shoddy re-releases put out by shady record companies on the fringes of the business,” he says.

“But it seems Gowers hasn’t been persuaded by the argument that this will hurt revenues and therefore the money record companies can invest in new talent. The amount the old records actually sell today makes concrete evidence hard to come by – it seems Gowers doesn’t think it is enough that we will suffer compared with the US.”

So, no need to get all shook up, then after all.