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Fame not fortune February 4, 2009

Posted by Dominic in Uncategorized.
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If you’re on a No.1 hit, don’t you deserve a little more than fleeting fame? A Glass of Champagne by Sailor shot to the top of the charts in 1976. It brought fame to the band, but not a fortune. As Phil Pickett, keyboard player with Sailor, pointed out to MPs at the copyright term event on Monday, many people just assume that you are instantly wealthy if you have a no.1 hit. The reality is that you are reliant on the ongoing royalties which dry up for the performers because of the shorter copyright term.

Phil was one of several musicians who battled through snow and ice to get to Parliament and be heard by Ministers. They were supported by MPs who have backed performers in their campaign for a fair copyright term. Some of the MPs had also made Herculean efforts to get to London for the meeting. Michael Connarty MP, on discovering that flights from Scotland were cancelled, transferred to a train, arriving with minutes to spare. Does his love of music and determination to do what’s right for musicians know no bounds?

Also at the meeting were John Whittingdale MP, Bob Blizzard MP and Lord (Chris) Smith of Finsbury, formerly the Culture Secretary of State, as well as the current Minister for Higher Education and IP, David Lammy. David was himself a chorister at Peterborough Cathedral and admitted to receiving the occasional royalty cheque for the Barchester Chronicles. What he did not know was that present in the room was the person who negotiated those payments for him. When he was younger and less powerful, someone was making sure he got his fair dues. Now it’s his turn to do the same for all the British musicians.

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