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PRS for Music, IMPALA, BPI, SACEM respond to EU copyright vote outcome

Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive, PRS for Music: “It is perhaps unsurprising considering the unprecedented level of lobbying and the comprehensive campaign of misinformation which has accompanied this vote that MEPs want more time to consider the proposals. The vote showed that many MEPs across the various European political parties understand the importance of fixing the transfer of value and of a well-functioning market for copyright. We appreciate their support and hope that as we move forward to the Plenary debate in September, more MEPs will recognise the unique opportunity to secure the EU’s creative industries.

“From the outset our primary focus of this legislation has been concerned with whether or not the internet functions as a fair and efficient marketplace – and currently, for artists and authors, it doesn’t. They want their creative works to be heard, they embrace technology, but they want to be paid fairly. We will continue to fight for what we believe is their freedom and a fair use of their creative works.”

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said: 

We respect the decision by MEPs to have a plenary discussion on the draft Copyright Directive.  We will work with MEPs over the next weeks to explain how the proposed Directive will benefit not just European creativity, but also internet users and the technology sector.”

David El Sayegh, SACEM’s Secretary General, comments:

“This vote is a set-back but it is not the end. SACEM remains dedicated to ensuring that creators are recognised and remunerated for the value of their work.

“We will not be discouraged by today’s decision and will continue to mobilise the support of musicians and music lovers across the world, in the hopes of reaching a fair agreement with these platforms that will safeguard the future of the music industry.

“We are confident that the European Parliament will eventually support a framework that fully acknowledges the rights of creators in the digital landscape of the 21st century.”

Helen Smith, IMPALA Executive Chair commented:
"The result underlines that although many parliamentarians were satisfied, others were simply not ready to decide. It is like a second reading. This will take place in September.

The process continues a long and detailed review of the proposed new rules, following a positive vote of the legal affairs committee two weeks ago, taking into account the conclusions of 4 other committees. This vote was challenged, putting parliamentarians in a situation where they had just two weeks to reach a conclusion.

"Today’s decision means there will be another debate. We are confident that in September the Parliament will reach a conclusion and secure a fair and sustainable internet. Platforms facilitate a unique relationship between artists and fans, and copyright reform should help rebalance the licensing framework around this."

In the run up to the vote, parliamentarians and citizens were subjected to a disinformation campaign on a scale rarely seen before. There have also been attempts to manipulate the press, and threats of public shaming if parliamentarians didn’t vote against, on top of longer term campaigns to influence academics

Helen Smith added: "Copyright aside, the hijacking of the process raises fundamental questions about how incumbent platforms and supposedly objective operators abuse their position. It underlines the need for greater transparency and scrutiny, especially with actors who have huge potential to influence public opinion and are not shy about using it."

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said:
“This is a sad day for everyone involved in the creativity that is behind Britain’s world-leading music. It is desperately disappointing that a small majority of MEPs have backed Google’s shabby multi-million euro campaign of fake news and misinformation against creators. Frankly, in some cases MEPs were naive. In others cases, they have chosen to wilfully disregard the plight of creators. These proposals would make a real difference to our creators, to those that invest in them and to all of us who value our culture.

Google’s YouTube is the world’s most popular music platform, yet it deliberately chooses to return a pittance to those whose creativity it has built its multi-billion pound business model on. Google remain the vultures that feed off music creators. The fact remains that this must end.

We sincerely thank the 278 MEPs who backed reform and look forward to engaging positively with all MEPs on the opportunities to develop the Directive further. We may have lost this particular round, but the fight to ensure fairness for music creators goes on.” 

CISAC President Jean Michel Jarre said:
“Today is a great disappointment for millions of creators who have campaigned for years for the right to fair treatment and fair payment from giant internet platforms. It is incredibly disappointing that, having been ferociously lobbied by opponents using false arguments, the European Parliament has stopped short of supporting the fair rights of creators. Our fight will go on, for the future of our culture and for a fair, modern well-regulated Internet.”

CISAC Director General Gadi Oron said:
“Today’s vote is a missed opportunity to fix one of the biggest problems in today’s digital market. It leaves an unfair situation in which the value of creative works, instead of benefitting their creators, is being used to enrich global technology platforms. CISAC will continue to campaign worldwide for a fair digital market for our members.”

Horace Trubridge, MU General Secretary, said:
“Yet again the tech industry has used its considerable political influence to deny creators and rights owners a fair share of the enormous riches that they derive from their businesses. These multi-billion pound companies would have nothing to offer their customers and users were it not for the efforts of musicians, songwriters and producers, yet they are allowed to continue to deny the creative community their rightful share. The fight goes on and we will redouble our efforts to convince the legislators they must act to bring an end to this appalling injustice.”

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