An effective Digital Single Market requires a level playing field, where providers can compete fairly for consumers. This is not the case today where some platforms are required to pay for the content they use, while others do not, despite the fact they provide very similar functions as, and are in direct competition with licensed services. A level playing field for online content services is only achievable if there is a clarification to the existing copyright law to ensure all online platforms and aggregators that distribute music are liable for the copyright of the works they make available.
The Role of Online Platforms– the hosting defence
Legal ambiguity in the current legislation, specifically the application of the Hosting Defence in the E-Commerce Directive, has allowed for some online platforms, such as user upload sites, to claim they are not liable for copyright and as such they do not remunerate rightsholders. This was never the intention of the Hosting Defence legislation, which was intended to support the development of hosts and conduits as the online market evolved, and the result of the legal ambiguity is harm, caused by the creation of an unfair market and to the detriment of content creators, other service providers and consumers.
On behalf of our members we are calling for a clarification of copyright law to ensure that we can, on behalf of our members, license services which make available works online and they cannot claim to be mere hosts of content uploaded by others. This will ensure that all services which provide access to music online, including in audio visual content, fairly pay for the use of all of the music they use. The European Commission’s Digital Single Market reform proposal represents the most effective and realistic mechanism to redress this imbalance.
You can read our response to the consultation on the Regulatory environment for platforms, online intermediaries, data and cloud computing and the collaborative economy here [document supplied, to be included on the Research and Submission Archive page].