Today sees the crucial European Parliament vote on the proposed new EU Copyright Directive, including the ‘Article 13’ that’s been the focus of so much attention for the music industry. Lobbying around the proposed approach to safe harbours and copyright-filtering requirements for online platforms of all sizes has continued up to the wire, with the music industry waiting until yesterday to deploy one of its key weapons: a Beatle.
“Unfortunately, the value gap jeopardises the music ecosystem. We need an Internet that is fair and sustainable for all. But today some User Upload Content platforms refuse to compensate artists and all music creators fairly for their work, while they exploit it for their own profit,” suggested the letter signed by Sir Paul McCartney, and published through the IFPI for the attention of European politicians.
Other music bodies have continued to make their views known with blog posts. AIM CEO Paul Pacifico, for example, published the UK indie body’s views yesterday. As with other bodies, Google was squarely in his sights. “The claims that Google has made around the copyright mandate – that it will destroy memes and user-generated content, leading to censorship and impeding the free flow of information – have been totally debunked,” claimed Pacifico, pointing to a recent analysis by PRS for Music (which as we linked to yesterday, has itself been criticised by tech website Techdirt).
We also wrote about a unified front for the music industry, but it’s only fair to note that not every music body is on board. The International Music Managers Forum (IMMF) is putting out its views today, calling for MEPs to NOT vote the current proposals through today – not because it doesn’t want the Copyright Directive to address safe-harbour issues, but because it wants a further debate and amendments to strengthen the legislation.
“In a market where ad-funded streaming rates are set at auction, and Alexa the Pied Piper of Prime is walking in to the paid subscription market, it is not clear how the current JURI draft of Article 13 would increase artist earnings,” claims the IMMF. “We would like platforms to pay more tax, be locally accountable, and have better procedures for takedown. We would like them to take measures to prevent the availability of content identified by rightsholders through the population of a database of content. Would the JURI version of Article 13 deliver that?”
The IMMF is also hoping for amendments to the proposed legislation that will, for example, open up “data transparency” between streaming services, labels and managers, as well as financial transparency. “So that the EU’s music creators do not miss the opportunity to progress the DSM [Digital Single Market] during this current parliament a rejection of the JURI mandate to lead the negotiation, and a further, and fuller debate by MEP’s offers the safest route to robust copyright rules for digital era artists,” wrote the IMMF.
This bucks the industry trend and will almost certainly be unpopular. But whether you agree or disagree, it does point to the key question of what happens next, whether today’s vote waves through the proposals to their next stage, or not. Billboard has a good quick Q&A with MEP Helga Trüpel about this. “If the mandate gets voted down, there will be an amendment process, starting in September, and we will vote on the whole thing again,” she said, while suggesting that indications are that the vote may go the other way. “As of this morning, I heard that there were 231 MEPs who are going to vote to challenge the mandate, out of about 630 who we believe will vote. So if it’s not much more than 231, we win,” she said.
We’ll bring you the news, and analysis of what it means, in tomorrow morning’s Music Ally Bulletin.