Europe votes to stop ‘transfer of value’

copyright symbol

The lead committee of European Parliament has today approved positive changes to copyright law, which could help halt the ‘transfer of value’ from music creators to digital service providers.

One of the most discussed changes is Article 13, which creates a new legal framework to ensure that large online services pay creators and respect the content they use. It was passed with a majority of 15 to 10.

The changes will go some way to address the ‘transfer of value’ (also known as the value gap), which has undermined rightsholders’ ability to earn from their work in the digital marketplace.

They form part of a wider Copyright Directive, which will go to a final vote of the Parliament in early July.

The lead  committee will then negotiate the final text with the European Council and European Commission. If successful, this will be the first meaningful change to European copyright law in 17 years.

John Mottram, head of policy and public affairs at PRS for Music, told M: ‘Today represents a significant and positive step forward in achieving meaningful changes to the existing copyright law.

‘The proposals adopted today, with a significant majority, would address the “transfer of value” by requiring the platforms to obtain a licence for the use of music on their service.

‘At the beginning of July all MEPs will vote on the proposals adopted today, before formally negotiations on the final text can begin. It will be essential that the creators’ voices are heard ahead of this vote, to dispel and counterbalance the current misinformation campaign claiming that allowing creators to protect their rights will “break the internet”.’

Today’s vote has previously been postponed several times due to a lack of consensus on the direction of the legislation, which has been subject to heated discussion for the last two years.

The main concerns from rightsholders centre around the fact that user generated content platforms are now among the main points of access to music online, yet some do not, or barely, remunerate creators for their exploitation.

This so-called ‘transfer of value’ puts the viability of the cultural and creative industries at risk and distorts the market.

Creators, rightsholders and collecting societies such as PRS for Music, have been campaigning for an update to EU-wide copyright laws for some time.

A recent creator-led petition, which has over 30,000 signatories, follows a previous petition launched in 2016, signed by the likes of Jean-Michel Jarre, Ennio Morricone and David Guetta.