'All eyes are now on the EU': Music industry makes final appeal to MEPs ahead of key copyright vote

'All eyes are now on the EU': Music industry makes final appeal to MEPs ahead of key copyright vote

It’s the big vote tomorrow (July 5) on the EU Copyright Directive and Article 13 in the European Parliament. Ahead of a the decision that will have a huge impact on the music industry, Music Week rounds up the last-ditch appeals to legislators…

Helen Smith, executive chair of IMPALA, said: “Europe’s independent music sector is a constellation of micro-companies and small businesses who deliver more than 80% of new releases, jobs and investment. Remember that when you read that the value gap is a fight between big tech and big music. We want to make licensing as easy as possible so that fans access more music on more services. Copyright and innovation are two sides of the same coin. Don’t let the so-called digital activists tell you otherwise.

“All eyes are now on the EU as it rewrites the rules of the game. It is well qualified for the job; at its heart, Europe always has been a cultural project, an audacious democratic experiment to negotiate our differences, a home for all voices, big and small. Let’s make Europe the best home for culture. Let’s modernise copyright in Europe to bring digital services up to date and make the internet fair and sustainable for all.”

PRS For Music CEO Robert Ashcroft said: “After three years of debate, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation ever to come before the European Parliament is about to go to the vote. It is about copyright, and specifically about the rights of creators versus those of the Internet giants; it is about whether or not the Internet functions as a fair and efficient marketplace.”

Ashcroft added that he was “surprised” that online giants have opposed the changes.

“The irony is that the largest Internet players are already moving down this road of their own volition,” he said. “Google has just begun the rollout of its music subscription service, YouTube Music, and Facebook has recently signed a first round of music licences. The technology for smaller platforms to identify content uploaded to them is readily commercially available, so it is ironic that it should be the technology giants that are resisting change; it is ironic that they should be the ones hanging onto the past, when the creative industries, long accused of being internet Luddites, are looking to the future.

“Perhaps they are just looking to preserve a commercial advantage – and I would submit that the future of the creative industries and the growth of our economy as a whole, are worth more than that.”

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher rounded on Google in the run-up to the vote. 

“Google has made vast sums of money behaving like a corporate vulture feeding off the creators and investors who generate the music content shared by hundreds of millions on YouTube,” he said. “These EU copyright changes are aimed at ending an injustice that has seen Google’s YouTube and other big tech firms ripping off creators for far too long.

“These new figures expose the fact that Google is acting like a monolithic mega-corp trying to submerge the truth under a tsunami of misinformation and scare stories pedalled by its multi-million propaganda machine.

“Instead of mounting a cynical campaign, motivated entirely out of its self-interested desire to protect its huge profits, Google should be making a positive contribution to those who create and invest in the music. MEPs should ignore the big money lobbying from big tech and back fair rewards for creators.”

Peter Leathem, PPL CEO, said: “This is a key opportunity to close legislative loopholes to ensure that creators’ rights are respected and properly remunerated. It’s vital that UK MEPs back these sensible proposals.” 

In a video message on Twitter, AIM CEO Paul Pacifico urged MEPs to back Article 13.

“We need your help to ensure that artists can earn fairly from the use of their music online and that the profits are not just held by global mega-platforms," he said. "This is not about censorship, this is not about memes, this is not about Wikipedia. This is about artists and fans and the incredible ecosystem of talent. We need your help – please support Article 13.”

BASCA chair Crispin Hunt also took to social media with a waggish reference to the MEPs who oppose Article 13.

“Drinking my morning coffee from a cup I stole (in plain sight) from Julia Reda’s Pirate party office,” he said. “I figured they wouldn’t mind: It’s not the original, they had copies and mine and other creators’ work probably paid for it and it provides them with exposure to play gigs.”

CISAC president Jean-Michel Jarre challenged claims that online giants would suffer financially as a result of Article 13. 

He said: “A regulation allowing creators to receive a fair remuneration ruining companies earning billions of revenues? Let's be serious - there can only be a future for the digital world if it takes into account the people who contribute to create it.

“What we want today is very simple: the problem springs from the fact that we are relying on ancient laws, dating from before the internet, to create the heritage of tomorrow. Give us the means to sit at the negotiating table so that European creators, and those from all over the world, can receive a fair share of the revenues generated by the distribution of the creative content that we create.”

In a statement, the British Copyright Council said: “The UK is rightly celebrated for the vibrancy of its creative sector, which includes not only major employers but a vast number of individuals and small firms whose livelihoods — and thereby their ability to make works to entertain, inform and inspire us — depend on a fair system of remuneration in which giant tech companies recognise the value of the content on which they flourish. The greatest threat this week is not to fix the value gap.”

David El Sayegh, SACEM’s secretary general, said: “Since creators are integral to the business model of these platforms, it is only fair that the works of creators should be properly recognised. Article 13 will ensure creators are fairly remunerated for the use of their work, and will make online content sharing services platforms comply with the appropriate copyright rules.

“The vote this Thursday is crucial for musicians and music lovers across the world. SACEM strongly urges MEPs to vote in favour of the mandate of the copyright directive on Thursday, to ensure a viable and sustainable future for the music industry for generations to come.”

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