PRS for Music and European sister societies back #MakeInternetFair

PRS for Music and BASCA call on EU law makers for new rules to create a fair digital world

A group of European songwriters standing left to right in dark clothing against a grey wall with European Commissioner for Digital & Society Mariya Gabriel

The European institutions are finalising proposals that could bring about the most significant changes to copyright law in 17 years. PRS for Music has long been at the forefront of this debate, highlighting the economic harm of the ‘transfer of value’ and the need for a meaningful legal solution. 

The #MakeInternetFair petition, calling for a meaningful solution to the ‘transfer of value’ was relaunched in Brussels last night by a delegation of European musicians and songwriters including world-renowned French electronic music composer, Jean-Michel Jarre; British songwriter, BASCA Chairman and PRS director, Crispin Hunt; and German singer-songwriter, Astrid North. 

The petition, which has already been signed by over 14,000 creators from across the European creative industries, is part of a wider programme of activities to increase the pressure on EU lawmakers to fix the transfer of value – the term used to describe the way value of music is transferred from the songwriters and composers to the online platforms that host the music, generating enormous profits for these platforms. 

These activities come at a pivotal point in Brussels as the programme to reform the copyright framework reaches its culmination – the wording of the law, determining how creators will be rewarded for the use of their music online, will soon be put to a vote in EU Parliament and Council.

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I am supporting the #MakeInternetFair petition in the name of protecting the future of creativity. Technology has brought incredible opportunities to songwriters but the situation we have today is, I fear, unsustainable. The platforms are making vast amounts of money, but the creators are not getting paid. What does that mean for the future? Remember, it wasn’t the printing press that changed the world, it was the words IT printed that made the difference, these platforms need the music to have a business model. This is not a problem confined to the music industry, it is a symptom of wider problems in the online environment. Rules will not break the internet -- they will mend it. 

We call on the European authorities to ensure a framework that means that the internet runs as an effective and competitive marketplace rather than as a monopoly, to secure a meaningful solution to transfer of value and end the inequality.

Songwriter, PRS Director and BASCA chairman, Crispin Hunt
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Today, in Europe and worldwide, creators are seeing the value of their work being unfairly extracted by digital platforms. The world is now watching the EU. It is for Europe to prove that it remains the champion of culture. We need a 21st century copyright framework for a 21st century digital market – one that allows future generations of creators to be fairly remunerated and be able to make a living from their work.

Electronic composer, Jean-Michel Jarre
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Your mobilisation is important for us at this very moment, on this sensitive issue for which a solution is being debated. The online market and the creative sector should grow hand in hand but so far it seems that one is growing at the expense of the other. The legislation is necessary to stop this transfer of value.

European Commissioner for Digital & Society, Mariya Gabriel

Sign the #MakeInternetFair petition at makeinternetfair.eu. This an opportunity for creators and the music industry to get their voices heard in a meaningful way and remind Members of European Parliament (MEPs) that an update to existing laws is of real importance to protect their livelihoods and the future of music. 

Watch PRS for Music Chief Executive, Robert Ashcroft, explain transfer of value in 60 seconds:

Transfer of Value in 60 seconds

Full Delegation composed of:

  • Crispin Hunt, British composer, songwriter, singer and producer
  • Matthew Irons, singer, songwriter and guitarist of the Belgian band Puggy
  • Astrid North, German songwriter, singer and producer
  • Cora Novoa, Spanish electronic and experimental – pop music composer, DJ
  • Piotr Rubik, Polish author composer performer and conductor

Pictured above, left-right: Matthew Irons, singer, songwriter and guitarist of the Belgian band Puggy; European Commissioner for Digital & Society Mariya Gabriel; electronic composer Jean-Michel Jarre; Crispin Hunt, British composer, songwriter, singer and producer; Astrid North, German songwriter, singer and producer; Piotr Rubik, Polish author, composer, performer and conductor; Cora Novoa, Spanish electronic and experimental pop music composer and DJ.

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and around the world. As a membership organisation it works to ensure that creators are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators worldwide. In 2017, 6.6 trillion performances of music were reported to PRS for Music with £717m collected on behalf of its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations.

PRS for Music’s public performance licensing is now carried out on PRS for Music’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the new joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.