'A hugely important achievement': Biz responds to Copyright Directive vote

'A hugely important achievement': Biz responds to Copyright Directive vote

The music business has given its reaction after MEPs voted to back the EU Copyright Directive, including Article 13.

The proposals were approved by 348 votes to 274 following intense lobbying on both sides with trade bodies representing creators accusing YouTube and Google of “misinformation” about the impact on the freedom of internet users.

Helen Smith, executive chair of IMPALA, said: "This is a landmark day for Europe’s creators and citizens, and a significant step towards a fairer internet. Platforms facilitate a unique relationship between artists and fans, and this will be given a boost as a result of this directive. It will have a ripple effect world wide."

She added: "The fact that the artists spoke amid so much anti-copyright harassment online is impressive. Parliamentarians did not let themselves be intimated and had the courage to vote this text through. Thanks to all who were involved in crafting such a balanced outcome. It is now for member states to reconfirm their approval of the directive."

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said: “This is a pivotal victory for our #LoveMusic campaign and a hugely important day for creators in the music industry.

“We are massively grateful to the MEPs who supported us in this fight and voted in favour of the  Copyright Directive against a tide of misinformation from our opponents.

“I believe these reforms will maintain the world-leading position of our music industry which contributes £4.5bn a year to our economy. We now ask the EU Council to back the Directive and will work with our members and partners to ensure the proposals are properly implemented to produce the outcome that the Directive was originally designed to achieve."

Gadi Oron, director-general of CISAC – the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers – was among the first to welcome today's adoption.

“The European Union has laid the foundation for a better and fairer digital environment – one in which creators will be in a stronger position to negotiate fair license fees when their works are used by big online platforms," said Oron.

"This is a hugely important achievement not just for Europe, but for the millions of creators which CISAC represents across the world. We are grateful to all those in the European institutions who have tirelessly worked on this directive and hope that it will lead the way for countries outside the EU to follow."

This is a hugely important achievement not just for Europe, but for the millions of creators which CISAC represents across the world

Gadi Oron


Robert Ashcroft (pictured), CEO of PRS For Music, said: “This is about creating a fair and functioning market for creative works of all kinds on the Internet. It’s about making sure that ordinary people can upload videos and music to platforms like YouTube without being held liable for copyright – that responsibility will henceforth be transferred to the platforms.

“This is about modernising the Internet and it’s a massive step forward for consumers and creators alike.”

Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said: “This is the first legislation anywhere in the world that recognises there needs to be a better balance in the relationship between user-upload platforms and the creative community, whose content turbocharges those services.  The Value Gap distorts the music ecosystem and holds back the growth of the UK’s creative industries.  The priority now must be to ensure the UK implementation of the Directive achieves the goal of closing that gap, and we look forward to working with Government and all parties to that end.”

A spokesperson for the UK Council of Music Makers (CMM) said: "This is a historic turning point in the evolution of the digital era as outdated laws are modernised to balance the value gap between tech platforms that host creative works, whilst adequately remunerating and protecting the rights of those who create those works, as well as fans who wish to share the joy that such creative works bring.

"Music makers are significant contributors to culture, as well as providing considerable growth in the economy. The full package of the Copyright Directive enables positive progress towards a digital future that is up to date with consumers and supportive of our creative community. Modernising the industry, it encourages a healthier market with real fairness and transparency. It promotes a sustainable, innovative, balanced music business with music makers at its heart.

"The CMM has supported the positive campaigning of our UK and European counterparts to ensure that our message has been heard. We send special thanks to MEPs Axel Voss, Helga Truepel and Sajjad Karim for their support and work on this.

"The CMM is looking forward to working with the industry on early and effective implementation of these new developments, to further support a flourishing future for the music business."

A Google spokesperson said: “The Copyright Directive is improved but will still lead to legal uncertainty and will hurt Europe’s creative and digital economies. The details matter, and we look forward to working with policy makers, publishers, creators and rights holders as EU member states move to implement these new rules."

AIM CEO Paul Pacifico said: “The passing of the copyright directive into EU law represents a momentous opportunity for music and culture across Europe. Artists and the creative community made their voices heard, and MEPs listened and acted courageously. We are now a step closer to achieving real balance in the online space for artists and the businesses that support them with those who run the platforms and profit from creative content and we look forward to building this system together.

"The directive aims to create significant improvements for authors, creators and performers across Europe. It is a great reflection of the creative community’s power to catalyse real change. 

"We look forward to the next stage of translating the legislation into national law in which we hope to see a high level of harmonisation across all member states. The UK Government has been extremely supportive of the British creative community in the evolution of the EU copyright directive and we will encourage and support a successful implementation of the directive into UK law, irrespective of what happens with Brexit.”

Annabella Coldrick, CEO, Music Managers Forum, said: "This is really positive news. The MMF has stood with the rest of the music industry, and alongside our colleagues in the European Music Managers Alliance and the Council of Music Makers, to push for these vital updates to copyright law. This is a once in a generation opportunity to recalibrate Europe's digital economy to ensure artists are fairly remunerated.  

"Alongside Article 13, today's Directive also offers a raft of changes that will empower artists and creators, ensuring they have greater transparency and leverage in their licensing and contractual partnerships. For the creative community, these amendments in Articles 14-16 are also of the utmost importance.

"It is now crucial that UK legislators act constructively to make good on their promises and implement these changes in full, and at the earliest opportunity."

Frances Moore, CEO, IFPI, said: “We thank lawmakers for their efforts in navigating a complex environment to pass a Directive with noteworthy implications for the content community. This world-first legislation confirms that User-Upload Content platforms perform an act of communication to the public and must either seek authorisation from rightsholders or ensure no unauthorised content is available on their platforms.

"The Directive also includes a ‘stay down’ provision requiring platforms to keep unlicensed content down – another global first. 

"We now look forward to the implementation stage, where we will work with the EU’s Member States to ensure the Directive is transposed into national law in a manner fully consistent with its aim and key principles of European and international law.”

GEMA CEO Dr Harald Heker said:"The European Parliament has declared itself in favour of strengthening the culture and creative industries. The parliamentarians thus have laid the foundation for a contemporary copyright. The decision emits a very important signal, namely that Europe is in a position to create fair rules for the digital world. The new Directive strengthens and protects creators in many areas. In this context, the overall objective of Article 17 (former Article 13) is that content protected by copyright can be made available on online platforms. In return, creators are to receive a fair remuneration for the exploitation of their works.
"We thank all European Parliamentarians who have stood up for the Directive over the last years. The next step is that it has to be implemented by national legislators: We do sincerely hope that this is going to take place in a constructive setting. Critical voices must not be tuned out. In turn, positive elements and improvements of the Directive must be communicated more clearly as it has been the case so far. We would like to accompany this important dialogue constructively and objectively.“

Raffaella De Santis, Associate at law firm Harbottle & Lewis, added: “Artists and creators will hail the passing of the directive as a real victory for their right to be fairly paid for their creations. However the effect of the text of the directive as passed could at the same time have very concerning and unintended consequences for vast swathes of online services, not simply those operating in music or news.

"This outcome is unpopular with digital services and importantly, many European voters. The key focus now will be on how the directive is implemented across the EU over the next two years, and care will need to be taken to ensure that smaller services are not disproportionately disadvantaged by measures which are in reality designed to curtail the formerly unchecked power of the tech giants.”

Interested parties have also been giving their reaction on Twitter, a selection of which can be read below: 

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