DJ Alesso breaks ranks with Biz to back Lyor Cohen's call for Article 13 rethink

DJ Alesso breaks ranks with Biz to back Lyor Cohen's call for Article 13 rethink

DJ and producer Alesso has broken ranks with much of the biz to back Lyor Cohen’s recent warnings that Article 13 of the EU’s new Copyright Directive will “create severe unintended consequences for the whole industry.”

The music industry veteran, now YouTube’s global head of music, reignited the debate around the proposed law, which will require online services to police or license all third party content posted onto their platforms by users, in his newsletter to the industry. Alesso shared the piece with his 2.22 million followers.

Publishing a transcript of a conversation he had with Shots Studios boss John Shahidi, Cohen praised how the entertainment company crossed over between “music, comedy, dance, and science” and encouraged their “fans to participate and create covers, parodies, collaborations.”

The YouTube executive said that this had prompted him to warn again over Article 13, now that the Copyright Directive is subject of discussions between the EU’s main bodies before it comes into law following the European Parliament voted in favour of it in September.

“This [Shots Studios' activities] reminded me why it is so important that the industry understands Article 13… Because all of this great content, this unique way to build deep connections with fans, is at risk of being blocked and removed from open platforms (such as YouTube, Facebook, Reddit),” he wrote.

“Let me be clear: we understand and support the intent of Article 13. We need effective ways for copyright holders to protect their content. But we believe that the current proposal will create severe unintended consequences for the whole industry. We still have a couple of weeks to work together towards a better final version of the law. The music industry should really pay attention to these unintended consequences - the system that largely contributes to their success is at risk of major change in the European Union.”

Cohen’s position is at odds with the European biz who lobbied heavily for Article 13’s adoption when it came before the Parliament, with artists including Blur's Dave Rowntree, Suede's Brett Anderson and Sir Paul McCartney campaigning in favour of the new Directive. However Swedish producer Alesso – a client of Shots Studios­ –  seemed to throw his support behind YouTube’s position, tweeting in praise of Cohen’s latest intervention and linking to his blog.


Cohen is not the only member of YouTube senior staff who has spoke out against Article 13 since its adoption in the European Parliament.

Last month the video platform's CEO Susan Wojcicki warned the measure may limit who YouTube allows to post content, suggesting: "The proposal could force platforms, like YouTube, to allow only content from a small number of large companies. It would be too risky for platforms to host content from smaller original content creators, because the platforms would now be directly liable for that content."

Read Music Week's recent  interview with Lyor Cohen.

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