European Parliament sides with music industry in crucial copyright vote which could ‘close the Value Gap’

Helen Smith, IMPALA

In a surprisingly one-sided decision, the European Parliament has voted to take the current version of the much-discussed Copyright Directive to the next stage.

European MPs today (September 12) voted on whether to allow the Directive – including its controversial Article 13 – to be further negotiated with the European Council.

In a blow to the likes of YouTube, European Parliament Members (MEPs) voted to move ahead with the proposed copyright reform, with 438 votes for versus 226 against and 39 abstentions.

The next step will be for the Parliament to enter negotiations with the European Council and the European Commission to finalize wording for the Directive, a process which could be completed by the end of the year.

“This means that we can finally enter the last phase of negotiations to secure a fair and sustainable internet.”

Helen Smith, IMPALA (pictured)

A wealth of music industry lobbyists have long argued for the Directive, and Article 13, to be passed into law.

The Article 13 provision would mean that digital platforms like YouTube would face legal repercussions for the use of unlicensed music on their platforms, even if that music had been uploaded via user-generated content.

The likes of YouTube, French music business legend Pascal Nègre and multi-Platinum-selling artist Wyclef Jean have all spoken out against Article 13.

In the opposite corner seems to be pretty much 99% of the music business: including the likes of the IFPI – representing the major record companies – in addition to indie bodies like IMPALA and AIM, plus collecting societies, songwriters and other key players.

IMPALA’s Executive Chair Helen Smith (pictured) commented on today’s result: “This is a great day for Europe’s creators. The Parliament has sent a clear message that copyright needs to be modernised to clarify obligations of platforms with regard to the creative works they distribute.”

Smith added: “This means that we can finally enter the last phase of negotiations to secure a fair and sustainable internet. We thank the rapporteur, Mr. Voss, for standing firm and showing leadership and all the parliamentarians who voted in favour today. Platforms facilitate a unique relationship between artists and fans, and copyright reform is about rebalancing the licensing framework around this.

“We expect the next step in trilogue to make progress quickly and an agreement on a strong and balanced text to be found. The eyes of the world are on Europe to make online platforms more accountable and set new standards for creators online.”

“This now opens the way for a Copyright Directive that can close the value gap and boost investment into new British music and other new content.”

Geoff Taylor, BPI

In the run-up to the vote, more than 70 associations of the culture and media industries called upon MEPs to support the reform proposals.

GEMA CEO, Dr. Harald Heker stated: “Finally, the foundation for a modern copyright which complies with the digital age has been laid. This step has been long overdue.”

He added: “The EU Parliament has not been wavered by the opponents’ disinformation campaign. We are glad that a compromise capable to carry a majority vote could be found. This is for the benefit of creators and ultimately secures the cultural diversity in Europe.

“The vote in the EU Parliament now strengthens the position of creators vis-à-vis online platforms – without restricting users’ rights.”

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said: “This vote is great news for music fans and for anyone who values exciting and original online entertainment. It’s an important step towards creating a fairer internet that encourages and rewards creativity.

“We are grateful to the members of the European Parliament who stood up for the creative community, since this now opens the way for a Copyright Directive that can close the Value Gap and boost investment into new British music and other new content.”

“We now look forward to working with the three institutions in the forthcoming trilogue to ensure the Value Gap is effectively closed.”

Frances Moore, IFPI

IFPI chief executive, Frances Moore said: “IFPI joins others in the creative community in thanking the European Parliament for its work on this proposal in the most difficult of circumstances and congratulates Rapporteur Axel Voss MEP on an outstanding performance.

“We now look forward to working with the three institutions in the forthcoming trilogue to ensure the Value Gap is effectively closed.”

Paul Pacifico, CEO of the UK-based Association of Independent Music (AIM), said: “It is a great day for culture and music in Europe as the Copyright Directive is adopted by the European Parliament.

“I would like to thank the MEPs from all parties for their energetic and highly engaged approach to this very sensitive and important legislation that stands to benefit the next generation of music artists and creators online who generate the content we all enjoy.”Music Business Worldwide

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