Fair play for musicians

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Fair play for musicians is a full-page advertisement that was published on 7 December 2006 in the Financial Times newspaper calling on the UK Government to extend the existing 50 years copyright protection for sound recordings in the United Kingdom.[1] It consisted of around 4,500 names in small print filling the full page and its style was consistent with other newspaper petitions.[2] The text "fair play for musicians" appeared in large red type over the list of names. In the centre of the page a box contained the text:

"We call upon the UK Government to support the extension of copyright in sound recordings."

At the bottom of the page the following text appeared:

"On behalf of over 3,500 record companies and 40,000 performers"

The 'fair play for musicians' advertisement was viewed as a direct response to the Gowers Review published by the British Government on 6 December 2006 which recommended the retention of the 50 year protection for sound recordings.[3] The advertisement was organised by Phonographic Performance Limited as another element of their campaign for retrospective copyright term extension.[4]

The advertisement was controversial as it was seen as another step in a protracted campaign to influence British Government policy, and gave rise to worldwide media coverage,[5][6][7][8] which was unusual for issues of copyright term policy.[9] The advertisement's inclusions of a number of deceased musicians raised suspicions that it was not a genuine representation of the wishes of the musicians listed.[10] Prominent law professor Lawrence Lessig criticised the advertisement for being misleading and declared the date of its publication, December 7, was "a date which will live in infamy."[11] The date is the same as Pearl Harbor attack and Lessig was alluding to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's famous statement.


  1. ^ "British musicians demand fair play on copyright term". Phonographic Performance Limited. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  2. ^ "I see dead people 1". Flickr. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  3. ^ "Musicians sign copyright advert". British Broadcasting Corporation. 7 December 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  4. ^ "I see dead people". Open Rights Group. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  5. ^ "Music industry will take copyright battle to Europe". The Register. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  6. ^ Hyde, Marina (9 December 2006). "They live like aristocrats. Now they think like them". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  7. ^ "Rockers push copyright". NEWS.com.au. 8 December 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  8. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (8 December 2006). "Arts, Briefly". New York Times. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  9. ^ Guadamuz, Andres. "Musician revolt?". TechnoLlama. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  10. ^ "Ok, so I'm wrong". Lawrence Lessig. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  11. ^ "good days and then bad". Lawrence Lessig. Retrieved 17 November 2008.