UK music leaders rally support for EU copyright proposals in Brussels

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Trade body UK Music has led a delegation including PRS for Music‘s John Mottram to Brussels in a united show of force to back proposed changes to EU copyright law.

Shadow culture secretary and deputy Labour leader Tom Watson joined UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher and Mottram, PRS for Music‘s head of policy and public affairs, yesterday (26 June) in the fight to ensure tech firms properly pay those who invest in and create British music.

Business leaders from the Association of Independent Music (AIM), Music Publishers Association (MPA) and British Phonographic Industry (BPI) were also on hand to urge Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to vote in support of changes to copyright law – which could help halt the ‘transfer of value’ from music creators to large digital service providers.

The delegation arrived just hours after Google triggered a backlash by trying to persuade news publishers to lobby against the positive changes, with its claim that the proposed Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive would curb internet freedoms.

The music industry wants MEPs to vote in favour of a directive that would create a new legal framework to make sure that internet firms pay creators and respect the content they distribute online.

Under the proposed changes in the copyright directive, internet giants like YouTube would be required to obtain and pay for a licence to use content.

At yesterday’s summit in the European Parliament, Watson and Dugher urged Labour MEPs to support the changes.

Dugher said: ‘The UK music industry is totally united on this issue. The contribution of music to the UK economy is nearly £4.5bn. Music outperforms in every part of the economy bar one – and that’s average earnings, which are less in our sector than in the rest of the economy.

‘It’s time for Google’s YouTube to stop ripping off the creators and investors behind our world-beating music.’

Watson added: ‘The UK music sector and the many tens of thousands of jobs it protects speaks with one voice – I can’t tell you how vital it is.

‘I do remember Labour’s Clause IV that says we have got to secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry. Google are trying to prevent that from happening.

‘What the music industry is doing is uniting with a clarion voice to say we want to able to make sure that creators get paid properly to keep the talent pipeline on stream, and make sure the UK music industry remains a global leader.’

Mottram said: ‘It is rare that music industry can come together so forcefully behind a single issue. It’s worth stressing that very many broadcasters, sports bodies, image rightholders and authors are too. The creative community in the UK has come out supporting strongly with one voice the need for an online market that works efficiently. The current legal ambiguity is working in no one’s best interests.’

The meeting was chaired by Labour MEP Theresa Griffin. Among the UK music business leaders and UK Music members attending were Jackie Alway (chair, MPA), Paul Pacifico (chief executive, AIM) and Ian Moss (director of public affairs, BPI).

A full European Parliament plenary vote on the copyright directive is expected to take place on 5 July.

Read more on this story and what MEPs are voting on in our recent news article.

Learn about PRS for Music‘s Creators Rights Fight campaign and use the organisation’s new tool to lobby your local MEPs to vote in favour of music creators.