Creators' Rights Fight

Creators’ Rights Fight is about securing a copyright regime fit for the digital age. One which protects creators.

Article 13 of the proposed copyright directive would give creators both better control over their works and the opportunity to receive proper remuneration. Equally, it will provide legal certainty for users and platforms as to when a licence is required and to what extent they are required to block unlicensed content. The continuation of the current legal uncertainty, alongside the cumbersome and costly existing take down mechanism, are in no-one’s best interests. Why does this matter?...

The cultural and creative industries are worth over €530 billion to the EU economy and represent over 7 million jobs.  Digital consumption is the fast-growing part of our sectors.

While creative industries, such as the music industry, have adapted to meet the demands of the online market, legal uncertainty is undermining the value of creative content.  In fact, it has created a transfer of value away from the creators to the platforms.

The ‘transfer of value’ or ‘value gap’, is the process by which the value of works has been transferred away from the creators to the online platforms who have built their businesses on the exploitation of creative works, hosting and monetising them while paying only minimal royalties to the writer, or refusing to pay at all. This has only been made possible because existing law is ambiguous, and case law conflicting, which has allowed some platforms to wrongly claim they aren’t liable for copyright.

Find out more about the transfer of value

The proposed Article 13 will provide much need legal clarity for everyone.  Importantly it clarifies when platforms need to get a licence, provides mechanisms for users to be licensed through the platform and put in place appropriate and agreed mechanisms to prevent the availability of unlicensed content.

Creators aren’t asking for anything new, they are merely asking to be able to effectively enforce their copyright in the digital world, so that they can be paid fairly when someone is making money from then use of their work.

It is not a matter of stopping people from using their works but rather making sure that they can also  benefit from the fruits of their hard work.

FALSE: Article 13 will censor the internet
It will not lead to censorship of the internet. This argument is not based in fact, and easily dispelled by even a superficial review of the proposed directive. It is being propagated by companies which, ultimately, have a vested income in not sharing their income fairly with creators.

FALSE: Article 13 will restrict internet users
Article 13 imposes no obligation on users. The obligations relate only to platforms and rightsholders.

Actually, Article 13 makes it easier for users to create, post and share content online, as it requires platforms to get licenses and for rightsholders to ensure these licences cover the acts of all individual users acting in a non–commercial capacity. In short, most users no longer need to obtain separate licences.

FALSE: Article 13 threatens online blogging platforms, code-sharing services and encyclopaedias like Wikipedia
Article 13 would only be applied to certain types of services, specifically those whose main purpose is to make a profit from storing and making available copyright-protected works.

Services operating on a non-commercial basis, or where the presence of copyright works are supplementary, such as blogging sites, are specifically excluded from the requirements to obtain a licence.

Online encyclopaedias and open source software services are also specifically excluded.

FALSE: Article 13 will stifle creativity
This is an argument which is as old as copyright itself and time and again has proven to be untrue.

In fact, the opposite is true, as the proposed changes will benefit creators of user generated content. Under the current system, it is the user who is required to clear the individual rights for the creation.

FALSE: Article 13 will make memes illegal
Parodies, such as memes, are already covered by exceptions to copyright, and nothing in the proposed Article 13 will allow rightholders to block the use of them.

Parodies are widely available on sites which already deploy content recognition tools and there is no evidence that this process has been detrimental. Currently, it is possible for there to be disputes between uploaders and rightholders as to whether a specific usage is covered by an exception – but the Copyright Directive will not alter this.

FALSE: Article 13 will kill remixes
Services can be licensed to support remixes – and many already are. Look no further than the recent announcement about Mixcloud’s new licence.

In most cases, mash-up are and covered by existing copyright exceptions (such as parody, criticism, citation). So, they can be created and posted by citizens on the basis of these exceptions.

FALSE: Article 13 will be too expensive for small business and start-ups
Article 13 clearly states that Member States shall ensure that the measures shall be appropriate and proportionate, meaning that the types of measures which are deployed must reflect the specific size and scope of the service.  The market already provides a wide range of content identification system at a wide range of prices.    

FALSE: Article 13 is in breach of fundamental privacy rights
Article 13 specifically states that the measures should not require the identification of individual users and the processing of their personal data and should be in full compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

FALSE: Article 13 will result in a monolithic blocking tool to stop content
At the core of this concept is the idea of a super app, which can identify every piece of copyright content across billions of uploads in every EU country – and then block it.

Even putting aside the impracticality of such a concept, the argument is flawed for the simple reason that it assumes creators and producers are incentivised to block access to their works.

Centuries of copyright have proven this is not the case. Indeed, one of the core principles of copyright is that it incentivises the licensing of works. Requiring online platforms to obtain a licence will not lead to mass-scale blocking of copyright works online.

Watch these films featuring PRS members to learn more about the role of the songwriter and reality of making a living by making music in the digital world.

Creators Rights Fight Cover
Transfer of Value in 60 seconds