PRS for Music calls for copyright overhaul with #MakeInternetFair

GESAC

PRS for Music and its European sister societies have relaunched the #MakeInternetFair petition, calling for EU law makers to protect the rights of music creators’ – in what will be the first copyright overhaul in 17 years.

The petition calls for a meaningful solution to the transfer of value and was relaunched in Brussels yesterday (6 March) by a delegation of European musicians and songwriters, who met with European commissioner for digital economy and society, Mariya Gabriel.

The group included world-renowned French electronic music composer Jean-Michel Jarre (pictured third left), British songwriter, BASCA chairman and PRS for Music director Crispin Hunt (pictured middle) and German singer-songwriter Astrid North (pictured third right).

The petition has already been signed by over 14,000 creators from across the European creative industries and comes at a pivotal point in Brussels, as the European commission has proposed to reform the copyright framework which will soon be put to vote.

Over recent months, the music industry has become increasingly vocal about the growing value gap, with mounting concerns that some digital content platforms and aggregators are exploiting a loophole in European copyright law that allows them to underpay creators and rightsholders for use of their work, or in some cases, not pay them at all.

Explaining his support, Hunt said: ‘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.’

Jean-Michel Jarre commented: ‘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.’

Gabriel described the legislation to stop the transfer of value as ‘necessary’ and added: ‘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.’

Sign the #MakeInternetFair petition at makeinternetfair.eu.

Watch PRS for Music chief executive, Robert Ashcroft, explain the transfer of value in 60 seconds below: