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Music business orgs keep an eye on the EU Copyright Directive as a major step is taken to turn the divisive directive into law
By Anna Grace on 14 Feb 2019
Negotiations on the much talked-about European Copyright Directive have concluded with an agreement on the final text, including the controversial Article 13 provision.
The final trilogue phase of the Copyright Directive talks began on Monday evening after EU member states voted last week on an agreed negotiating position. The text was finalised late evening on Wednesday 13 February.
The final text includes the controversial article 13 provision which has proved a point of contention between the music and technology industries and, more recently, has caused rifts within the music industry itself.
The article requires online content sharing platforms such as social networks or video-sharing sites like YouTube, to combat the sharing of copyrighted works and offer “fair remuneration”, by filtering posts or requiring licenses for user-generated content.
European music industry organisations have so far welcomed the news.
According to PRS for Music chief executive, Robert Ashcroft, the news of a final text is “a welcome relief for all involved”.
“This directive has generated an unprecedented level of debate and a wave of misinformation”
“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,” says Ashcroft.
“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.”
Harald Heker, chief executive of the German society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights (GEMA), says the directive has “been overdue for years”.
“Thanks to the directive, online platforms will finally have to pay authors a fair remuneration for the usage of their works,” comments Heker. “The draft of the directive that we now have in front of us imposes a higher level of responsibility onto the online platforms and strengthens the position of creators as well as internet users at the same time.”
Véronique Desbrosses, director general of the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC) calls the development a “major achievement” and thanks decision-makers for reaching an agreement on a “complex and sensitive piece of legislation.”
“It [the directive] will enable creators to be remunerated fairly by large online platforms that today are siphoning the value of the creative sector while failing to compensate creators.”
“The directive will enable creators to be remunerated fairly by large online platforms that are siphoning the value of the creative sector”
Both Desbrosses and GESAC president, Anders Lassen, emphasise that a careful assessment of the final text is still required.
Last week, representatives from the music industry including the International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP), International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA), wrote an open letter calling on negotiators to halt proceedings on the current European Copyright Directive and stating the proposal would “cause serious harm” to the industry.
In response, the UK’s Council of Music Makers voiced its support for the directive, criticising the collective’s stance and accepting the directive as a “compromise”.
Executive chair of IMPALA, Helen Smith, commends EU institutions on a “great job reaching the compromise in time”, stating that the organisation believes their “concerns were heard.”
“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,” says Smith.
The final proposal will now go before the European Parliament legal affairs committee before a final vote takes place in late March or early April. The agreement is a major step towards turning the directive into law.
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