Biz braced for EU copyright reform vote

Biz braced for EU copyright reform vote

The rumbling issue of EU copyright reform and the value gap comes to a head today (June 20) with voting on amendments on the JURI committee of the European Parliament.

Amid last minute lobbying, opponents of the measures have challenged the rebalancing of copyright controls as a threat to free speech and the open internet. Article 13 of the Copyright Directive, which would require filtering to prevent copyright infringement, has become the most contentious area of the legislation. 

However, rights holder organisations – including CISAC, IMPALA, PRS For Music and the IFPI – have welcomed the proposed reforms, while artists including Imelda May have headed to Brussels to make their voice heard ahead of the vote.

The move is seen by many as the best chance of fixing the so-called value gap from user-generated content on video services such as YouTube.

Speaking to Le Monde, CISAC president Jean-Michel Jarre said: “We must avoid abusive monopolies. YouTube must not become one and prevent diversity.

“Streaming is in its infancy. We have to act, but I'm not pessimistic. The concept of intellectual property has taken almost a century to become a concept accepted by everyone. The Internet is 20 years old. We are still in the pre-history of digital. It's normal that it’s a bit chaotic organising its regulation.”

However, YouTube head of global music Lyor Cohen has defended his platform as it implements industry-friendly measures such as songwriter credits, artist discovery programmes and a major new premium subscription service.

Speaking at the Cannes Lion conference (June 19), he described the relationship with the biz as a “new love affair”.

“Everybody’s hopeful and excited,” he said. “All I hear when I go to industry events is ‘how can I be helpful?’, ‘Count us in’. ‘It’s so nice to see you guys in the game’. And I really appreciate that they have the confidence in us working together.”

But Jarre questioned the timing of the launch ahead of the voting.

“As if by chance, the platform launches its pay service two days before the European vote,” he said. “It's indirect lobbying, which proves our voice is beginning to be heard. YouTube rightly fears the reaction of the European Parliament and hopes to tell it: ‘Look, there is no need to change the legislative framework.’”

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