'We acknowledge the efforts of lawmakers': IFPI's lukewarm reaction to Copyright Directive

'We acknowledge the efforts of lawmakers': IFPI's lukewarm reaction to Copyright Directive

Following the backing of the EU Council for the text of the Copyright Directive, the creative sector has called for the measures to be passed into law.

The EU proposals include Article 13's rules on filtering and licensing user-generated content. The Directive also enshrines the authors' and performers' right to “appropriate and proportionate remuneration”. 

However, the text was only passed by a qualified majority vote of governments, as several have objected to the measures. The Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Finland and Luxembourg did not support the compromise deal on the Copyright Directive.

It means the creative sector now faces a nervous wait in the weeks ahead for the final vote in the EU Parliament.

In a statement, the five countries said: “The Directive in its current form is a step back for the Digital Single Market rather than a step forward.

“Most notably we regret that the Directive does not strike the right balance between the protection of rights-holders and the interests of EU citizens and companies. It therefore risks to hinder innovation rather than promote it and to have a negative impact the competitiveness of the European Digital Single Market.”

The statement also suggested that the Directive “lacks legal clarity, will lead to legal uncertainty for many stakeholders concerned and may encroach upon EU citizens’ rights”.

YouTube has warned of “unintended consequences” for artists if Article 13 goes ahead.

It follows wrangling among rights-holder organisations over whether the legislation would solve the perennial problem of the so-called value gap – the disparity between remuneration from DSPs and video upload platforms such as YouTube. 

While the IFPI has supported Article 13 it had recently joined other organisations in urging changes to the wording of the text. Since the final Copyright Directive text was agreed within the EU, the IFPI has - so far - not joined other trade bodies in a final united push to get the measures enacted into law.

IFPI CEO Frances Moore said: “We acknowledge the efforts made by lawmakers to try to find a way through such a complex area. Certain of the Article 13 provisions of the Copyright Directive are notable. This is the first legislation confirming that user-upload content platforms perform an act of communication to the public, and must seek authorisation from rights-holders or make sure that there is no unauthorised content available on their platforms. The Directive also includes a ‘stay down’ provision requiring platforms to keep unlicensed content down – another first.”

While that appears to be a lukewarm endorsement, dozens of other international and pan-European trade bodies have now backed the proposals in a joint statement. 

IMPALA endorsed the Copyright Directive at its board meeting.

Helen Smith, IMPALA executive chair, said: "We welcome the text and member state approval. This will be the first piece of legislation anywhere in the world clarifying the position of platforms as regards copyright and licensing. It is a balanced compromise, taking on board the views of stakeholders representing different interests." 

IMPALA and its members also met with EU parliamentarians to underline their support.

Smith added: “Platforms play a unique role in the relationship between creators and citizens and this directive puts a much needed framework around that. We decided to hold our 100th board meeting in Brussels to honour the EU’s role in levelling the playing field online. Europe really has taken the lead on this worldwide.”

IMPALA and organisations from across the cultural sector have called on EU member states and the European Parliament to adopt the text of the Copyright Directive as agreed in the trilogue last week.

The joint statement said: “We, the undersigned organisations, representing authors, composers, writers, journalists, photographers and others working in all artistic fields, news agencies, book, press and music publishers, audiovisual and independent music producers call on the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament to adopt the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

“This Directive has been long sought to create a much-needed level playing field for all actors of the creative sector in the European Digital Single Market, whilst giving citizens better access to a wider array of content.

“This is a historical opportunity. We need an internet that is fair and sustainable for all. This is why we urge policymakers to adopt the Directive quickly, as agreed in trilogue negotiations.”

The full list of signatories is below: 

BIEM- Bureau international des sociétés gérant les droits d’enregistrement et de reproduction mécanique

CEDC- European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity

CEPIC- Centre of the Picture Industry

CIAGP- International Council of Creators of Graphic, Plastic and Photographic Arts

CIAM-International Council of Music Authors

CISAC- International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers

EANA- European Alliance of News Agencies

ECSA- European Composer and Songwriter Alliance

EFJ- European Federation of Journalists

EIBF- European & International Booksellers Federation

EMC- European Music Council

EMMA- European Magazine Media Association

ENPA- European Newspaper Publishers’ Association

EPC- European Publishers’ Council

Eurocinema- Association de Producteurs de Cinéma et de Télévision

EVA- European Visual Artists

EWC- European Writers’ Council

FEP- Federation of European Publishers

FERA- Federation of European Film Directors

FSE- Federation of Screenwriters in Europe

GESAC- European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers

IFRRO - International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations

IMAGO- European Federation of Cinematographers

IMPALA- Independent Music Companies Association

IMPF- Independent Music Publishers International Forum

NMC- News Media Coalition

NME- News Media Europe

SAA- Society of Audiovisual Authors

UNI-MEI- Global Union in the Media, Entertainment and Arts

W&DW- Writers & Directors Worldwide

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