UK Music visits Brussels as industry turns out in force to back proposed changes to EU copyright law

We delivered a “clarion call” to Brussels in a united show of force backing the changes

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26/06/18: UK Music led a top-level delegation to Brussels today (June 26) in a united show of force to back proposed changes to EU copyright law.

[L-R] Neena Gill MEP, Jackie Alway (Chair, MPA), Paul Pacifico (CEO, AIM), Alex Mayer MEP, Mary Honeyball MEP, Sion Simon MEP, Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, Tom Kiehl (UK Music), Theresa Griffin MEP, Tom Watson MP, Michael Dugher (UK Music), Ian Moss (BPI), Julie Ward MEP

Shadow Culture Secretary and deputy Labour leader Tom Watson joined UK Music CEO Michael Dugher in the fight to make sure tech firms properly pay those who invest in and create British music.

They were joined by UK music business leaders, who headed to Brussels to urge Euro MPs to vote in support of changes to copyright law – which could help halt the “transfer of value” from music creators to digital service providers like Google-owned YouTube.

The delegation came just hours after Google triggered ferocious criticism by trying to persuade news publishers to lobby against the positive changes with its bogus claim that the proposed Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive would curb internet freedoms.

The music industry wants MEPs to vote in favour of a directive that would create a new legal framework to make sure that internet firms pay creators and respect the content they distribute online.

Under the proposed changes in the copyright directive, internet giants like YouTube would be required to obtain and pay for a licence to use content.

At today’s summit in the European Parliament organised by UK Music – the umbrella body for the commercial music industry  – Tom Watson and Michael Dugher urged Labour Euro MPs to support the changes.

Commenting, UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said:

“The UK music industry is totally united on this issue. The contribution of music to the UK economy is nearly £4.5 billion. Music outperforms in every part of the economy bar one – and that’s average earnings, which are less in our sector than in the rest of the economy. 

“It’s time for Google’s YouTube to stop ripping off the creators and investors behind our world-beating music.”

Commenting, Shadow Culture Secretary and Deputy Labour Leader Tom Watson said:

“The UK music sector and the many tens of thousands of jobs it protects speaks with one voice – I can’t tell you how vital it is.

“I do remember Labour’s Clause IV that says we have got to secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry. Google are trying to prevent that from happening.

“What the music industry is doing is uniting with a clarion voice to say we want to be able to make sure that creators get paid properly to keep the talent pipeline on stream, and make sure the UK music industry remains a global leader.”

The meeting today was chaired by Labour Euro MP Theresa Griffin.

Among the UK music business leaders and UK Music members attending were Jackie Alway (Chair, Music Publishers Association), Paul Pacifico (CEO, Association of Independent Music), John Mottram (Head of Public Affairs, PRS for Music) and Ian Moss (Director of Public Affairs, BPI).

Ian Moss said: “It’s been a long and hard-fought battle but we are in a position where there is a workable text.  There is a possibility that we can now license on a level playing field so we can start to return more value to artists.  It’s not right that we have UGC platforms with huge numbers of streams that argue they do not need a licence  competing with platforms like Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music where there is no ambiguity at all. It creates an unfair playing field and a big distortion (in the market).”

Jackie Alway said: “This is something that the industry is united on. It’s uncontroversial but super-important.  It’s an Article which allows that  where a composer has transferred to the publisher the right to participate in revenues from exceptions or limitations in copyright…that the transfer can constitute legal basis for the publisher to participate in those revenues.. This reflects that publishers invest in creators and suffer harm from exceptions along with creators and will help to sustain that investment.”

Paul Pacifico said: “Platforms do a great job at democratising access to culture but this can no longer be at the expense of the creative content on which they are built. There needs to be a better balance between the laws that support both the medium and the Message and the proposed wording in the current copyright review does just that. Make no mistake – this does not take away from the consumers, it merely enables artists to get paid more fairly for their work.”

John Mottram said: “It is rare that music industry can come together so forcefully behind a single issue.  It’s worth stressing that very many broadcasters, sports bodies, image rightholders and authors are too.  The creative community in the UK has come out supporting strongly with one voice the need for an online market that works efficiently. The current legal ambiguity is working in no one’s best interests.”

Members of the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP) who attended included MEPs Mary Honeyball, Jude Kirton-Darling, Julie Ward, Rory Palmer, Sion Simon, Neena Gill and Alex Mayer.

A full European Parliament Plenary vote on the copyright directive is expected to take place on July 5.

Today's European Parliament summit

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