Article 13 disaster for music biz, joy for YouTube, as labels call for EU copyright bill to be cancelled

A group of organizations representing European creatives and rightsholders in the music, audio-visual, broadcasting and sports industries have called on European negotiators to cancel the Copyright Directive.

In an open letter issued to the press today (February 7) the group of organizations said that they “are not able to support [the Directive] or the impact it will have on the European creative sector”.

The letter argues that “the proposed approach would cause serious harm by not only failing to meet its objectives, but actually risking leaving European producers, distributors and creators worse off”.

Among the signatories are music business organizations including the ICMP (The Global Voice of Music Publishing), the IFPI, which represents the global recorded music industry and independent music trade body IMPALA.

“As rightsholders we are not able to support it or the impact it will have on the European creative sector.”

“Despite our constant commitment in the last two years to finding a viable solution, and having proposed many positive alternatives, the text – as currently drafted and on the table – no longer meets these objectives, not only in respect of any one article, but as a whole,” says the letter.

“As rightsholders we are not able to support it or the impact it will have on the European creative sector.”

The European Parliament voted through a draft version of the new European Copyright Directive in September last year, complete with the controversial Article 13 provision – which intends to hold user-content reliant services such as YouTube legally responsible for copyright infringement on their platforms.

Last month music rights organizations admitted that the recently proposed versions of the Copyright Directive “[do] not meet the original objective of Article 13” – namely “correct[ing] the distortion of the digital market place caused by User Upload Content (UUC) services”.

YouTube has been vocal in its objections to the bill since it was voted through by the European Parliament in September and the music business’s latest stance on the matter will be welcome news for the likes of YouTube Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen, who wrote an op/ed in November 2018 arguing that Article 13 could mean ‘less money for artists and songwriters on YouTube’.

 

You can read the full letter below


We are writing as a group of rightsholders representing the music, audio-visual, broadcasting and sports industries, regarding the direction of travel for the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

The key aims of the original draft Directive were to create a level playing field in the online Digital Single Market and strengthen the ability of European rightsholders to create and invest in new and diverse content across Europe.

Despite our constant commitment in the last two years to finding a viable solution, and having proposed many positive alternatives, the text – as currently drafted and on the table – no longer meets these objectives, not only in respect of any one article, but as a whole. As rightsholders we are not able to support it or the impact it will have on the European creative sector.

“Regrettably, under these conditions we would rather have no Directive at all than a bad Directive.”

We appreciate the efforts made by several parties to attempt to achieve a good compromise in the long negotiations of recent months. Nevertheless, the outcome of these negotiations in several of the Council discussions has been to produce a text which contains elements which fundamentally go against copyright principles enshrined in EU and international copyright law.

Far from levelling the playing field, the proposed approach would cause serious harm by not only failing to meet its objectives, but actually risking leaving European producers, distributors and creators worse off.

Regrettably, under these conditions we would rather have no Directive at all than a bad Directive. We therefore call on negotiators to not proceed on the basis of the latest proposals from the Council.

Yours sincerely, the undersigned.

ACT – Association of Commercial Television in Europe*

AKTV – Czech Association of Commercial Television

DFL – German Football League

ICMP – The Global Voice of Music Publishing

IFPI – Representing the Recording Industry Worldwide

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

La Liga – The Spanish Football League

Mediapro – Independent Production Company

The Premier League – The English Football League

Związek Pracodawców Prywatnych Mediów – Polish Union of Private Media Employers, LewiatanMusic Business Worldwide

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