Within the report, the Musicians’ Union (MU) stress that many musicians do not have regular salaries and instead rely on copyright laws to protect their work and earn a living.
The MU, which represents thousands of people working in the British music industry, have also responsed to the publishment of the consultation, reminding the government of the importance of copyright.
“We must return to regarding copyright and performers’ rights as a protection for performers and creators rather than as an unfair impediment, and the only way to successfully do this is to focus on the way in which they protect musicians and artists who would be unable to maintain a career without the income that derives from them,” John Smith, general secretary of the MU, said.
“Only a small number of MU members have regular salaries. Most are small and medium enterprises, whether they are sole traders or members of a band, and they therefore rely on their copyright and performers’ rights to provide a significant part of their income.”
He did agree, however, to the introduction of a private copying exception that would permit anyone to copy creative content that they own to other devices, such as between different iPods.
It is strongly regarded that people who legally buy music from iTunes should be allowed to copy it to other devices, but it is actually against the law unless they are given permission.
A recent survey by Consumer Focus found that only 15 per cent of the public knew that copying a CD onto their MP3 player was illegal and just nine per cent thought it should be.
The MU said, though, that a private copying exception should only be allowed if there is fair compensation for musicians from the device manufacturers.
This week, a government-commissioned study into copyright was published by former deputy chairman of Ofcom Richard Hooper.
He concluded that while copyright licensing needs to be streamlined, British music fans have the greatest range of licensed digital services in the world and the music industry has embraced the digital age.
Copyright has been a hot topic in the political sphere of late following the publishing of the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth in May 2011. David Cameron has reportedly been considering a loosening of the UK’s copyright laws in an effort to encourage growth and innovation.
Critics of such a move however have suggested the Prime Minister is too close to information reliant corporations such as Google, who could well benefit from less restrictive copyright laws.
What do you think of the UK’s copyright laws? Do musicians and songwriters deserve to earn a living from their music or are you against copyrights and artists getting an income from their past work?
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