Value gap: Google influence campaign tries to derail Europe’s project to recalibrate the digital market

Brussels, 2nd July 2018

 


Helen Smith - Executive Chair of IMPALA

 

In Europe, cultural & creative sectors account for 7 million jobs and €509 billion in GDP.

Reinforcing them is an astute move as they won’t be relocating anywhere.

That involves strong copyright – as we have said before, birds have wings, creators have copyright.

Clarifying the position of platforms is essential.

The European Parliament is looking at new copyright rules which would do just that.

But big tech would prefer the status quo.

That’s the biggest barrier creators and online start-ups face today - the incumbents hanging onto old world models.

So concerned by having to face normal competition, big tech astroturf and invest heavily in anti-copyright campaigns.

It didn’t stop the legal committee adopting the package on the July the 20th, after 18 months of solid reflection. 

Julia Reda and the Pirate Party of course challenged the vote, so it now goes before the full plenary on the 5th July.

The level of manipulation and disinformation by big tech companies has been ramped up and has caused concerns in  several countries including Denmark (here), Germany (here) and France (here).

And just a few days ago, the Financial Times was sent evidence that Google was trying to manipulate the press into opposing the new copyright rules.

Yes you heard it – manipulating the press.

And this is on top of influencing academics for years.

Enough is enough. 

We need our democratic institutions to be free to address whatever burning questions they feel are important to make the internet fair, sustainable and balanced for all.

If we want a market that’s fit for copyright in the digital age, getting platforms to pay fair and play fair is key.

YouTube, for example, earns billions in advertising every year.

They win on all fronts: they don’t produce, they share little revenue, they don’t take risks with “content”, they avoid taxes and they collect a huge amount of valuable data. Manna from heaven.

The aim of the value gap solution (Article 13 of the proposed new copyright directive) is simple.

It will clarify that if you are in the business of distributing music, you are covered by copyright and need a licence.

This will be accompanied by an obligation to use technical measures to implement licensing agreements properly.

The disinformation campaigners say what’s being suggested would impose upload filters and be the end of the internet (again…).

Nothing in the text provides for upload filters. The legal service of both the commission and the council have declared the text compatible with Europe’s fundamental rights. Recent legal commentators have also confirmed the directive is safe – here and here on IPKat

Another tactic used by big tech is to try and pass off the new rules as a present for major music groups.

That’s a cheap shot.

More than 80% of new music is released by small and micro music companies and self released artists. That’s what this is about.

Together we are the biggest investors and risk takers in the music business today and we expect a competitive and frictionless digital market.

We don’t need the value gap stifling innovation and dragging down our artists and fans.

And we certainly don’t need big tech manipulating the press…

On 5th of July, its crunch time - say NO to the Google influence campaign, say YES to creators getting paid.    #vote4jurireport

 

About IMPALA

IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent European independent music companies. 99% of Europe’s music companies are SMEs. Known as the “independents”, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists - they produce more than 80% of all new releases and account for 80% of the sector's jobs (for more information, see the features of independents). IMPALA's mission is to grow the independent music sector, return more value to artists, promote cultural diversity and entrepreneurship, improve political access and modernise perceptions of the music sector. See the organisation's key achievements in IMPALA's milestones.

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OP-ED Value gap
Google influence campaign tries to derail Europe’s project to recalibrate the digital market