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European Copyright Directive Approaches Crucial Vote

The Musicians’ Union (MU) has been lobbying for several years to achieve fair compensation for performers, including session musicians, from streaming services and user-upload sites such as YouTube.

Lobbying activity has taken place in conjunction with various performer and creator representative bodies such as the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), BASCA, the FAC, MMF and MPG. We have also been represented as part of wider industry efforts by UK Music and the British Copyright Council.

We have been following the progression of a Copyright Directive, which forms part of the EU Digital Single Market initiative, through various European Commission Committee stages and this Directive will now be subject to a final vote on Thursday 5 July.

Fair remuneration, transparent royalties, contract renegotiation

The final text of the Directive is likely to highlight the importance of fair remuneration for performers and creators from use of their music in the digital world, as well asserting that royalties should be accounted more transparently and pre-digital era contracts up for renegotiation.

Meanwhile, the Fair Internet for Performers Campaign has been fighting hard for equitable remuneration for performers from streaming.

While it looks unlikely that the Campaign will achieve a guaranteed remuneration akin to those collected by PPL on radio broadcasts (which is what the MU wants for its members), the following text is on the table and may be adopted into the final Directive this week:

“Member States shall ensure that authors and performers receive fair and proportionate remuneration from the exploitation of their works, including from their online exploitation and other subject matter.

“This may be achieved in each sector through a combination of agreements, including collective bargaining agreements, and statutory remuneration mechanisms.”

While this text may appear to be stating the obvious, we know that our members do not currently receive fair remuneration from online exploitation in the vast majority of cases and therefore this would be a significant achievement for the Fair Internet Campaign if it gets through.

Our next challenge would be to ensure it is implemented effectively in the UK.

Appropriate and fair licensing of user-generated upload sites

Another key focus of lobbying has been so-called Article 13 of the Directive which focuses on appropriate and fair licensing of user-generated upload sites such as YouTube. The British Copyright Council have today released an update.


Published: 03/07/2018
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