UK Music welcomes Government pledge against copyright exception for user-generated content (UGC)

Digital minister Matt Hancock gives assurance to UK Music after concerns over talks to grant copyright exception for UGC.

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18/09/17: UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher has welcomed a commitment from Digital Minister Matt Hancock that the Government does not back any proposals for a copyright exception for user-generated content (UGC).

Mr Hancock gave the assurance in a letter to Mr Dugher after UK Music highlighted the industry’s concerns about talks in the European Parliament about proposals to grant a copyright exception for UGC.

After UK Music Board members raised their concerns over the issue at a meeting with Mr Hancock, Mr Dugher wrote to Mr Hancock to insist that a UGC exception was “simply unnecessary”.

In his letter, Mr Dugher wrote: “We believe there to be no need for a UGC exception.  It is unnecessary, would offer no benefit to uploaders and would serve only to create confusion as to what is licensable. It would only benefit the technology platforms at the expense of creators and would be incompatible with the EU’s international treaty obligations.”

Mr Dugher also warned that allowing a copyright exception for UGC would further widen the value gap and create a legal minefield over what “rightfully constitutes an extract or quotation or indeed UGC, while also diminishing further the value of rights”.

In his reply to Mr Dugher, Mr Hancock outlined the Government’s “strong support” for the UK music industry and pledged “robust protection of intellectual property like copyright”.

Mr Hancock wrote: “I can assure you that the Government does not support any proposals for a copyright exception for UGC.  The UK’s copyright exceptions framework favours targeted exceptions for specific purposes, and we do not support broad, open ended exceptions that have the potential to undermine the legitimate exploitation of rights.

“We strongly support music, and are determined to ensure that artists are properly rewarded for the joy they bring us.  This can only be done with robust protection of intellectual property like copyright.  We support measures to address the value gap and strengthen the protection of artists’ rights.”

Commenting on the minister’s letter, Mr Dugher said: “We welcome the Government’s commitment that it does not support any proposed copyright exception for UGC and Matt Hancock’s assurance that artists will be properly rewarded.

“Matt has demonstrated a strong personal commitment and real leadership on what is a critical issue for our industry, and we look forward to continue to work closely with him.

“UK Music will continue to push for copyright protection to be enshrined in the Government’s Digital Charter and ensure that music does not suffer as a result of Brexit.”

You can find the original correspondence between Digital Minister Matt Hancock and UK Music CEO Michael Dugher here and here.

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