Brussels, 20 July 2021,

EU Commissioner Thierry Breton has acknowledged existing concerns about the impact of the RAAP EU court ruling on European performers and producers and confirmed the launch of a study to evaluate the consequences.

This is part of an official answer to a question posed by several European parliamentarians, led by Spanish MEP Ibán García Del Blanco.

Breton’s response confirms that the European Commission (EC) will soon launch a study to investigate the consequences of the ruling. As flagged by the European court, the EU has the power to change European legislation. Both member states and European parliamentarians have been encouraging the EC to instigate the process of changing the relevant EU directive as a matter of urgency.

As IMPALA previously warned, the newly created anomaly in the EU’s Rental and Lending Directive could cause a transfer of €125 million a year between the EU and the USA alone. The USA is the only significant music market in the world that does not protect artists and labels when their music is played in cafes and bars or on terrestrial radio. Additional losses would also be incurred for other third countries without domestic broadcast and performance rights.

Ibán García Del Blanco, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee said: “International copyright rules and the principle of reciprocal treatment have been applied by many European members states for decades, protecting the rights of artists, creators and labels. The EC’s decision to launch a study is a welcome first step. It should be part of an accelerated procedure to fix what the court has flagged as a mistake in the drafting of the original directive.”

Helen Smith, Executive Chair of IMPALA commented: “This is a vital step in the right direction. The good news is that huge losses can be avoided if reciprocal treatment is reinstated urgently. Now more than ever, European creators are counting on EU legislation to protect their rights.”

Addressing this issue urgently is particularly important for smaller European businesses, accounting for 80% of all new releases and investing in local talent. Helen Smith concluded: “It’s very encouraging to see the EC recognise that this is a problem. Moving fast is critical – now is not the time to further impoverish European performers and producers.”

IMPALA has published a one-pager explaining the impact of the RAAP ruling on European performers and producers and the organisation’s key asks to the European Commission.

Last month IMPALA called on the European Commission to underline the importance of domestic performance and broadcast rights in trade discussions with the USA. EC negotiators were asked to push for the US to commit to adopting their own national rights and not concede to any requests for national treatment from the USA or any other country that doesn’t have similar domestic rights. A campaign has been launched by US music organisations recently seeking domestic radio rights for artists and labels. That would address part of the problem, though not for the question of performance rights where music is played in cafes and bars, which makes up a significant part of revenues in Europe.

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

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