Brussels has a mysterious way of letting legislative proposals get stuck in the institutional mire – look at the single EU patent idea first mooted over a decade ago, or the “six pack” measures to curb excessive debt, which the parliament and national governments are still fighting over.
But an episode this week suggests that imbroglios can disappear just as quickly as they first formed.
After three years of stasis, a proposed extension of copyright on music recordings from 50 to 70 years was brokered in just a few weeks and very much below the radar.
The recording industry has lobbied heavily for the extra 20 years, going so far as wheeling out its ageing rockers – think Cliff Richard, Paul McCartney and The Who – to convince governments that their 1960s hits should be covered by copyright until the 2030s. (The European Commission, which as the EU’s executive arm proposes all legislation, had suggested 95 years in an early draft)