Cross-industry letter urges EU policymakers to make ‘urgent changes’ to new draft of Article 13

A number of associations representing rights-holders from the likes of the music, film and publishing industries have issued a plea to EU policymakers today (January 17) to change the wording within the European Copyright Directive.

This new cross-industry open letter follows a warning from Universal Music Group owner Vivendi and others in December 2018 that changes to the then-latest draft version of the new Copyright Directive would be a let-down to rights-holders across the world.

The European Copyright Directive was voted through by European Parliamentarians in September 2018, and has since been a subject of fierce debate between internet firms and the music industry.

In today’s letter, a group of 12 organizations including IMPALA (European Association of Independent Music Companies) and the IFPI, which represents the global music industry, have said that the contentious Article 13 clause within the Directive requires ‘urgent changes in key areas’.

The original wording of Article 13 intends for user content-reliant sites like YouTube to be held legally responsible for copyright-infringing material uploaded by their users.

In November 2018 YouTube’s Global Head of Music wrote an op/ed suggesting that Article 13 could mean ‘less money for artists and songwriters on YouTube’.

The record industry responded to YouTube suggesting that it was publishing ‘carpet-bombing propaganda’ over Article 13.

According to a statement issued by the European Parliament last Friday (January 11) “The draft directive intends to oblige giant internet platforms and news aggregators (like YouTube or GoogleNews) to pay content creators (artists/musicians/actors and journalists) what they truly owe them.

“No new rights or obligations are being created. What is currently legal and permitted to share will remain legal and permitted to share”.

On the point of Article 13, it states: “The aim of the draft Article 13 is to give artists a stronger position in invoking their rights for fair compensation when their work is used and distributed online by others.

“An artist will typically have notified platforms like You Tube that a specific work is theirs.

“Works for which the rights-holder is unknown are therefore unlikely to engage a platform’s liability if they are uploaded there.”

“The latest draft text of the proposed Copyright Directive does not meet the original objective of Article 13 and urgently requires significant changes”.

In the letter sent to the media today, it’s claimed that the latest draft text of the proposed Copyright Directive, which it says was circulated by the Romanian Presidency on Monday January 13, ‘does not meet the original objective of Article 13 and urgently requires significant changes’.

You can read the latest letter in full below.

With the final trilogue only days away, European creatives and rightsholders urgently inform EU policymakers that the 13 January draft text of the proposed Copyright Directive does not meet the original objective of Article 13 and urgently requires significant changes.

After years of hard work, the Copyright Directive is at a very critical point. The 13 January proposed text circulated by the Romanian Presidency falls below the standard of the three texts produced by the three European Institutions and would not be an acceptable outcome of the negotiations.

The European Union cannot miss this unique opportunity to achieve one of the key objectives of the European Commission proposal, which was to correct the distortion of the digital market place caused by User Upload Content (UUC) services.

Therefore, the undersigned call on negotiators to urgently make substantial changes to the 13 January proposal by the Romanian Presidency in order to get the Directive back on the right track.

Yours sincerely, the undersigned.

CEPI – European Coordination of Independent Producers

EPC – European Publishers Council.

EUROCINEMA – Representing the interests of film and television producers to the European Union.

EUROCOPYA – European movie and television producers’ collecting societies in charge of private copy.

FEP – Federation of European Publishers.

FIAD – International Federation of Film Distributors’ Association.

IAO – International Artist Organisation.

ICMP – The global voice of music publishing.

IFPI – Representing the music industry worldwide.

IMPALA – European association of independent music companies.

IMPF – Independent Music Publishers International Forum.

STM – Leading global trade association for academic and professional publishers.Music Business Worldwide

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