On Wednesday evening European negotiators reached an agreement on the final text of the Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market – including its controversial ‘Article 13’ provision.
Article 13 aims to force companies hosting user-generated content to be held liable for copyright infringement on their platforms.
The latest development is a major step toward the legislation of the Directive in Europe and the matter now will go to a vote.
The final Trilogue phase of the Copyright Directive talks between the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission began on Monday evening before being concluded on Wednesday.
European Member states voted last week to use a France – Germany deal as an agreed position from which to negotiate following last month’s communication breakdown between EU states after 11 countries including Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands voted against the then-latest draft of the bill.
Discussions resumed last week on the basis of the France and Germany deal, the details of which were leaked by Poltico.
Last week it also emerged that various parts of the music business had very different views on that draft of the Directive, used as the position from which to negotiate from this week.
With the talks now concluded and an impending vote in Europe to decide on whether to legislate the final text or not, it’s not really possible to assess what the music industry actually thinks about the Directive at this stage – because the final text isn’t publicly available yet.
Speaking to MBW today (February 15) a spokesperson from the the global recorded music body IFPI, which counts 1,300 major and independent companies in 59 countries among its membership, said exactly that.
“We have worked with the European institutions for many years to address the issues facing the European creative sector, including through the Copyright Directive,’ said the IFPI spokesperson.
“Given that the official text of the agreement has yet to be released, we have not yet had the opportunity to analyse it. We look forward to carefully reviewing the text when it is issued.”
Robert Ashcroft, PRS for Music
The news has been welcomed by various other music industry bodies, with the likes of CISAC, the UK’s PRS for Music, the UK’s Council of Music Makers (BASCA, FAC, MMF, MPG and the MU) and independent music body IMPALA releasing statements yesterday (February 14) and today (February 15).
CISAC Director-General Gadi Oron said: “The agreement in the trilogue is an important step forward to rebalance the digital market and move towards fairer remuneration for creators of all repertoires.
“This is a welcome outcome from a process that has taken three years of intense work and negotiation, and we hope that EU institutions will now formally adopt the directive without further delay.”
Gadi Oron, CISAC
Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive of PRS for Music, said: “After five years of hard work, the news that we have a final text is a welcome relief for all involved.
“This Directive has generated an unprecedented level of debate and a wave of misinformation from the open internet lobby, so I commend all of those who have battled through it to arrive at a text to put to the European Parliament.
“Our mission has only ever been to achieve a fair and functioning digital market and, as a result, fair reward for creators. Subject to final scrutiny of the text and the forthcoming vote in Parliament it looks today as though we are going to achieve our aim.”
You can read the UK Council of Music Makers statement on the European Copyright Directive in full below:
The CMM commends the positive progress made on this vital piece of legislation for music makers. Music makers bring untold joy and entertainment to the masses. They are significant contributors to culture, as well as providing a grand boost to the economy beyond most other sectors.
The CMM believes that the full package of the proposed EU Copyright Directive as a whole aims to support our community, modernise the industry, encourage a healthier market with fairness and transparency, and promote a sustainable, innovative, balanced music business with music makers at its heart. This ambition is vital in ensuring music makers are clearly and adequately remunerated for their work.
We have supported the positive activity of our UK and European counterparts on this matter and lobbied at home and in Brussels, to ensure that our message is heard on the importance of the Copyright Directive as an opportunity to modernise the laws and commercial landscape governing how music makers get paid and how fans engage with music.
After much debate and further changes to the text of the copyright directive, an agreement was reached in Strasbourg last night and the directive can now move to the final stages of the European legislative process. Member states now need to approve the final text as well as the European Parliament. The changes made in the trilogue discussions this week will be published soon and IMPALA understands that they will help achieve a balanced text.
You can read IMPALA’s statement in full below:
Helen Smith, Executive Chair commented: “We need to see the final text, but this legislation will be the first time anywhere in the world that there is absolute confirmation that user upload services are covered by copyright and need a licence. In line with the WIN fair digital deals declaration adopted over three years ago, IMPALA also supports the provisions in the directive on transparency and remuneration for authors and performers.”
The text also includes special rules for start ups and certain non-commercial operators. Citizens are protected as existing exceptions continue to apply and platforms can’t decide to take material down arbitrarily.
One of the original objectives of the legislation was to rebalance the online world and ensure creators and their business partners have a say in how their works are used online. It is now down to member states and the parliament to give their final seal of approval.
Helen Smith concluded: “The EU institutions have done a great job reaching this compromise in time. Last week we raised the alarm on the risks of moving ahead without improvements to the text and we understand these concerns were heard. All those who contributed their views, whatever side of the debate they are on, played an important role. There are a few more steps before this reform becomes law and we count on all sectors to unite in support of this balanced text and ensure it is finally adopted.”Music Business Worldwide