British copyright laws should be extended to allow ageing recording artists to claim royalties from their music throughout their lifetime, MPs have said.
A Commons committee warned yesterday that around 7,000 musicians are set to lose royalties for recordings made in the 1950s and 1960s over the next decade, with performers currently subject to a 50-year copyright limit over their work.
Veteran artists Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Cliff Richard would be among those who would benefit if proposals by MPs to extend the limit to at least 70 years were accepted.
A report published yesterday by parliament's culture, media and sport committee argued that artists had a "moral right" to retain ownership of their intellectual property.
MPs also recommended tougher laws to prevent piracy following an 18-month investigation into the impact of new technology, such as the internet, on creative content.
"We have not heard a convincing reason why a composer and his or her heirs should benefit from a term of copyright which extends for lifetime and beyond, but a performer should not," the report concluded.
The call was welcomed by members of the British recording industry, including trade association BPI.
Responding to the report BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: "The committee is quite right that the term of copyright should be extended as a matter of fairness to artists.
"There is indeed no convincing argument why recording artists have shorter copyright protection than other creators," he added.