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MEPs call for a level playing field on copyright for online platforms 

21 June 2016

MEPs advocate for copyright liability of online platforms in order to remove distortions in the digital market and to provide better conditions for creators and consumers.

In light of the upcoming copyright reform, 58 MEPs sent an open letter urging the European Commission to put an end to the transfer of value currently taking place at the expense of creators, and called for a legal clarification of the liability regime for online platforms.

More creative content is being consumed today than ever before on services like user-uploaded content platforms and content aggregation services. Yet most of these services provide extremely low remunerations or outright refuse to pay authors. The letter, signed by 58 MEPs, explains that “[t]he upcoming copyright reform should make clear that liability exemptions can only apply to genuinely neutral and passive online service providers, and not to services that play an active role in distributing, promoting and monetising content at the expense of creators.”

The President of GESAC, Christophe Depreter, called the letter “an important signal to the Commission that the political will is there, and that the transfer of value issue needs to be dealt with urgently”.

GESAC applauds this initiative launched by MEPs Pervenche Berès, Christian Ehler and Martina Dlabajova of the Creative and Cultural Industries Intergroup that asks the Commission to clearly put creators and consumers at the centre of the upcoming review of the copyright Directive.

In a reaction to the letter, Polish film director Agnieszka Holland said she was “encouraged to see so many Members of the European Parliament identify the critical problem of fair remuneration online that creators are faced with” and hoped to “see meaningful changes from European decision-makers before the end of the year”.

Although the Commission has consistently noted that it wishes to tackle the transfer of value problem in the copyright reform, it is crucial to keep the issue high on the agenda, considering the relentless efforts of certain internet giants to water down any initiative that could lead to re-balancing this problem towards ensuring fairer conditions for creators and the entire European Digital Single Market.

Read the full MEP letter

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of over 118,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. As a membership organisation it ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced, championing the importance of copyright to protect and support the UK music industry. The UK has a proud tradition of creating wonderful music that is enjoyed the world over and PRS for Music has been supporting the creators of that music since 1914.

PRS for Music provides business and community groups with easy access to over 10m songs through its music licences. In an industry worth over £4.1bn PRS for Music is uniquely placed to be a voice for music and music creators. Collecting £537.4m in 2015, PRS for Music is one of the world’s most efficient combined rights organisations. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators.

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