Brussels, 11 July 2017
This morning the European Parliament inched closer to new copyright legislation in Europe. Opinions were adopted by two of the committees reviewing the proposal, one responsible for culture and the other looking after industry matters.
On behalf of over 4,000 independent music companies across Europe, IMPALA welcomes the strong provisions adopted by both committees on the ‘value gap’. Parliamentarians sent a clear signal that this gap needs to be closed once and for all by clarifying the position of user-upload platforms actively distributing or intervening in the distribution of works protected under copyright. "It makes complete sense to narrow the value gap and the parliament has sent a strong message this morning. That's very good news - recalibrating the digital market in this way is necessary to stop creators, start-ups and citizens being dominated by abusive practices of big platforms who don't pay fair or play fair” said Helen Smith, IMPALA's Executive Chair.
In addition, both committees rejected having a compulsory exception for user-generated content (UGC), with one committee making it optional and the other recommending no exception whatsoever. Having worked hard to embrace the user-generated economy over many years, IMPALA has fundamental concerns, which Helen Smith summarised: "An exception would send the digital market back ten years by unpicking licensing and creating new complexities in terms of administration and levies. To close the value gap then widen it again with an exception doesn’t make sense and this has been rejected before by both the Commission and member states."
The smooth running of the digital market is vital to the independent music sector who has also done a lot of work on transparency and remuneration, two other areas covered in the proposed european legislation on copyright. “Instruments like new unwaivable rights or reversion mechanisms would be like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut and would create more friction in licensing. Our own initiatives like the WIN declaration address the key issues voluntarily. We don’t expect national governments or the Commission to be convinced by what has been suggested this morning”, added Smith.
IMPALA also welcomed limitations to the contract adjustment mechanism introduced by the culture committee, noting that with some more modifications, this article could achieve its original purpose of a “best-seller clause”. "This mechanism doesn't really have a place in our world, said Helen Smith, "It is important that we maintain the solidarity model which exists in the music sector and which enables successful releases to support risk-taking and unsuccessful artists".
After the summer break, the legal committee will take the lead in the parliament. National governments and Europe’s main legislative body will then work together with the parliament in a trilogue to try and find a consensus before the legislation can be adopted.
IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent independent music companies. 99% of Europe’s music companies are SMEs. Known as the “independents”, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists - they produce more than 80% of all new releases and account for 80% of the sector's jobs (for more information, see the features of independents). IMPALA's mission is to grow the independent music sector, return more value to artists, promote cultural diversity and entrepreneurship, improve political access and modernise perceptions of the music sector. See the organisation's key achievements in IMPALA's first 15 years in milestones.