The UK government has rejected plans to extend copyright ownership on sound recordings from 50 to 70 years. This means that all music recorded will be released into the public domain after just 50 years.

The real world effect this will have is that ownership of The Beatles ' debut album 'Please Please Me', for example, which spent 30 weeks at the top of the album chart in 1963, will be taken away from the band and record label in 2013. So in six years time, that album will belong to you just as much as it does them.

John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of IFPI ( International Federation of the Phonographic Industry ), responded in absolute dismay.

"The UK is a world-beating source of great music," he said. "So it is frustrating that on the issue of copyright term the government has shown scant respect for British artists and the UK recording industry.

Copyright conundrum

"Some of the greatest works of British music will soon be taken away from the artists who performed them and the companies that invested in them. Extending copyright term would promote vital investment in young talent and new music, all of which will help to secure the UK's future as an exciting music market."

In May, a Select Committee recommended that the government press the case with the European Commission for extending sound recording copyright term. But the government has elected not to do this, sparking anger from musicians.

Roger Daltry of legendary rock band The Who said: "Thousands of musicians have no pensions and rely on royalties to support themselves. These people helped to create one of Britain's most successful industries, poured money into the British economy and enriched people's lives. They are not asking for a handout, just a fair reward for their creative endeavours."