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Promoting Europe's digital market through culture



Promoting Europe's digital market through culture - Independent labels
launch ten-point Action Plan as news of YouTube abuses resurface and the
copyright debate heats up in Brussels

Independent music companies launched a unique Digital Action Plan today,
calling for a new European industrial policy to drive the digital market
through the cultural and creative sectors, which account for 4,2% of EU
GDP and 7.1 million EU jobs.

The role of culture in Europe's digital market will be one of the issues
debated in the European Parliament today during an extraordinary meeting
of the Culture and Education committee with Digital Economy and Society
Commissioner Günther Oettinger. MEP Sabine Verheyen, Co-ordinator for the
EPP group in the Parliament's culture committee commented: 'This Action
Plan presents very practical ways to boost creativity through smaller
actors and deliver a dynamic digital single market built on diversity."

One of the strands of Europe¹s new industrial policy would be a range of
measures to boost SMEs including independent music companies, who account
for 80% of jobs and 80% of investment in new music in Europe today.

IMPALA also asks the EU to rethink how citizens, artists and businesses
engage online. The 'rules of engagement online' are important in the music
world with reports surfacing last week that YouTube is continuing the same
abuses which prompted IMPALA to lodge a complaint to the EC last year.

With the debate on copyright a hot topic, the action plan takes a robust
stance and calls on the EU to reinforce copyright as a fundamental right,
a liberator of the creativity that drives the digital market. The
importance of stopping the abuse of the so-called 'safe harbour' exemption
is also underlined, as well as not transferring creators' rights to trade
to those who are behind calls for weaker copyright.

Helen Smith, Executive Chair of IMPALA commented: 'An industrial policy
for culture is a pre-requisite to Europe's digital economy. This involves
reinforcing copyright and clarifying what operators like YouTube can and
can't do. Ensuring a successful single digital market also implies a host
of other measures such as promoting diversity in a measurable way and
devising a new regulatory, competition, social and fiscal framework for
smaller actors.'

Michel Lambot, co-founder and co-president of [PIAS], one of Europe's
leading independent labels, and board member of IMPALA, said: "A healthy
licensing environment is fundamental. We look to the EU to take away
distortions to the digital single market. It must be clear that 'safe
harbour' is no place to hide in Europe if you are running a music service.
Let's couple that with a serious industrial policy that boosts smaller
players, gets more investment, provides more exposure for all artists, and
then of course quantifies the results. This is what our Action Plan is
about.' 

One of the ten areas flagged for action is growing investment through
measures such as tax credits, new accounting standards and revised
statistical codes. IMPALA also asks the European Commission to step up and
broker a charter and scoreboards to boost diversity on European radio and
other media offline as well as online. This is timely with the news last
week that European radio's top 50 plays featured only one independent
artist. 

The 10 points:

1.    Reinforcing the rights that drive the digital market and grow
Europe's copyright capital
2.    Giving citizens the best digital infrastructure in the world
3.    Improving pluralism and diversity online as well as offline
4.    Revisiting the 'rules of engagement' online
5.    Growing Europe's 'missing middle' by improving conditions for
smaller actors 
6.    Effectively tackling websites which are structurally infringing
7.    Increasing investment through a new financial approach to culture
8.    Introducing greater fairness in taxation
9.    Mapping how creativity works and measuring the sectors
10.  Placing culture and diversity at the heart of our international work

Helen Smith concluded: "The aim of our Digital Action Plan is to inspire
decision-makers, ensure Europe's position as a global power, and re-engage
Europe with its creators and citizens. Our aim is to set new standards to
make Europe the best place in the world for artists and other creators and
for culture enthusiasts.'

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