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The First Vote February 13, 2009

Posted by Dominic in Uncategorized.

It was like scoring the first goal in a football match. It’s not decisive, and the match could turn the other way, but it is a good start to the legislative process.

Sitting in the committee chamber of the European Parliament yesterday was akin to being a spectator in a stadium, but without knowing all the rules. The members of the Legal Affairs Committee arrived one by one for the vote, following a day of debate on issues ranging from taxation of savings income to paternity leave for agricultural workers. Then, at 10 o’clock, the Chairman called for the votes to commence and, after a brief exchange on some last minute amendments, hands were raised in a quick-fire volley of approvals and rejections. They rattled through the 161 amendments in about fifteen minutes, many of them falling away as earlier decisions made them redundant. About twenty of them were approved, giving performers additional benefits from the extended copyright term.

Finally, it was time for the crucial vote on the Copyright Term Directive. A motion from a Green MEP to reject the entire proposal was roundly defeated, followed by approval of the revised text. 17 MEPs voted in favour of the legislation, 5 against, with 2 abstaining. The Legal Affairs Committee had given resounding support for performers, recommending a copyright term of 95 years from release.

Now the Directive has to be approved by the Plenary session of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The story continues…



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