SIR Cliff Richard and Roger Daltrey are one step closer to succeeding in their battle to change European copyright laws and allow artists to receive royalties from their work for longer. The stars have been campaigning to have the copyright period extended from 50 to 95 years and the British government has so far failed to take action on the matter. But the European Commission has now unveiled plans to let musicians hold on to the rights to their songs for a prolonged period. The European Union's internal market commissioner Charlie MCCreevy says, "Copyright protection for Europe's performers represents a moral right to control the use of their work and earn a living from their performances. "It is the performer who gives life to the composition and while most of us have no idea who wrote our favourite song, we can usually name the performer." Copyright for a song or a piece of music is currently split - with performance and sound recording rights going to the singer, band, musicians and technicians, and publishing rights, covering lyrics and sheet music, owned by the writer, or a music label. The publishing rights currently last for the lifetime of the writer plus 70 years. But artists insist performance and sound recording rights need to be extended to ensure musicians, who have no pension schemes, can receive royalties owed to them.