'A notable step': UK Music calls for Copyright Directive support from MEPs

'A notable step': UK Music calls for Copyright Directive support from MEPs

UK Music has urged MEPs to vote for the Copyright Directive as the long-awaited legislation inches closer to ratification.

Yesterday, the European Parliament legal affairs committee voted to adopt the compromise text thrashed out earlier this month. That indicates the legislation, including the controversial Article 13, is back on track, after talks had stalled in January, leading to arguments between music business organisations as to the best way forward.

“UK Music and its members have always supported constructive steps to foster a fair music licensing environment that benefits creators, performers and those who invest in them,” said the UK Music statement. “We have campaigned for this together through #LoveMusic and the final compromise text of the Copyright Directive is a notable step in that direction.

“In relation to Article 13, we welcome the fact that the compromise text clearly establishes that online content sharing service providers should not be entitled to avoid the need to secure licences from rights-holders.

“As has been widely reported, the text of this Article in particular has been the subject of fierce and passionate debate and the final result includes a number of compromises. With this in mind, we ask the EU Council and MEPs to support the Directive.

“We call on individual member states to ensure that the Copyright Directive, if successfully adopted, is implemented in a way that achieves its original purpose and benefits the whole of the industry.”

The latest sign of progress was also welcomed by German performance rights organisation GEMA, whose CEO Harald Heker said: “We welcome the positive vote in the legal affairs committee. We do, at the same time, appeal to all members of the European Parliament to follow the informed decision of the leading committee.

“The text of the Directive is a balanced compromise, which brings clear advantages to creators and users,” added Heker. “In the debate on copyright reform, many misleading statements are making the rounds, which are still creating uncertainty. That is why we feel it is important to point out that the revision should, above all, create urgently required regulations for the use of creative content on the big commercial online platforms.”

The European Composer & Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) also endorsed the move, joining other authors’ rights organisations to “encourage all Members of the European Parliament to formally adopt the Copyright Directive without further delay.”

Despite all this industry positivity, YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen last week insisted that the latest wording did not favour the rights-holders’ position.

“I don’t agree with that at all,” Cohen told Music Week. “I’m studying it and understanding precisely what the impact [will be] and what the words are. To view it as against YouTube is a gross mischaracterisation.”

Cohen had previously warned of the “unintended consequences” of Article 13

The Directive will now proceed to a full plenary vote in a few weeks’ time.

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