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Is the ‘value gap’ debate anywhere near a resolution? (#midem)


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Yesterday, we reported on a Midem panel providing the European perspective on the debate about YouTube, safe harbour legislation and the ‘value gap’.

Today there was a panel billed as “round two” – although still with no speaker from the YouTube side of this particular battle. Instead, IFPI director of legal policy and licensing Lauri Rechardt; GESAC senior legal adviser Burak Özgen; BMG SVP of business and legal affairs Götz von Einem; and MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick gave their views, moderated by CMU’s Chris Cooke.

Here were the key points and quotes from the sessions.

The drafts to the Copyright Directive are numerous and will hold everything up enormously

Burak Özgen: “All the MEPs have put their amendments on the table. There are more than 2,500 amendments. Even on the legal affairs side, there are 175 amendments just relating to safe harbour.”

Artists today cannot wait until things are fixed at some vague point in the future

Götz von Einem: “There is a lot of consumption and we need to make sure our clients – artists and writers – can benefit from this. Artists and writers sometimes have a short period for their career so they cannot wait until these things are resolved.”

Comparing YouTube to radio is a fool’s errand

Lauri Rechardt: “Let’s be absolutely clear, YouTube is not radio – it is the biggest on-demand service around […] People do not go there to discover music. They go there to listen to music they already know […] It should be up to the rightsowners to decide how they promote their music – not one service deciding for them.”

Content ID is simultaneously the best and not the best

Götz von Einem: “Content ID is probably the best system in the market at the moment – but it is still not good enough.”

It’s not just about the value gap – it’s about fairness and transparency

Annabella Coldrick: “Yes, there is a value gap – but you mustn’t forget the value chain. In the value chain, you are talking about the audience all the way through to the artist. That includes services like YouTube, but also Spotify, Apple Music and others, the labels, the collection societies and the publishers. [The focus should be on] ensuring that money is actually going back to the artists. Our focus has been on other linked parts of the Directive that we see as a package that looking to ensure there is transparency. At the moment, there are many NDAs. Great – get all the money from the DSPs and YouTubes of this world and get that into the labels and publishers; but we want the guarantee that that money will be shared fairly and transparently back with those who created the music in the first place. The European Commission has recognised this as an issue and has put some wording into the Directive around the beneficiaries of copyright being able to have transparency around that money and how it flows.”

Copyright owners also have an onus to clear up their data

Götz von Einem: “We can’t be sure what clicks are actually being remunerated or monetised. On top of that, we need to make sure that our repertoire is actually claimed. That is the starting point for us being able to pass on the information to our clients – which we absolutely want to do. At the moment, I find it hard – over and over again – to explain to clients why their streams were so little compared to others.”

The music industry does not want copyright law rewritten – they want it clarified

Lauri Rechardt: “I think we can go even further. It’s not that we don’t want [it rewritten] – we don’t need it. What we need is the national courts and countries to apply the law as it was intended to be applied when it was enacted into the Copyright Directive in 2001 and the E-Commerce Directive.”

Facebook is the next target on the horizon

Götz von Einem: “There is a difference between Facebook and YouTube when it comes to the service. […] I think you need to look at both services separately. What Facebook is doing at the moment is they are providing the platform that lets users upload the videos and yet they are not creating as much [money] as YouTube. Let’s put it that way.”

At least YouTube pays something and doesn’t just charge to boost your posts

Annabella Coldrick: “It is going to be fascinating because, at the moment, we are paying Facebook to reach our fans. At least from YouTube we get some money – even if it’s not very much!”

Eamonn Forde

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