How copyright reform would make the internet fair and sustainable for all

Brussels, 13th August 2018

Europe’s chance to write the music for a generation

How copyright reform would make the internet fair and sustainable for all


People have never enjoyed as much music as we do today. All music from all time is available at our fingertips. Young artists are exploring the frontiers of pop, rap, R&B, grime, jazz, electronica, rock, classical, punk and soul, while fans share the experience online, at gigs and festivals.

Music is precious. It is the playlist to our loves and losses, our protests and parties.

In the online world, whether professional or amateur, everyone is a creator. The posting and sharing of music, memes and other user-generated content is vital. They are the soundbites and commentaries to our everyday lives.

On September 12, there is key vote on copyright in the European Parliament. The European Union has the chance to recognise this creativity and help it flourish.

Freedom and fairness should be the guidelines.

We embrace the fact that creators and citizens enjoy a unique relationship online.

At the same time, we need to rewrite certain rules of engagement online because some large platforms claim that responsibility lies only with the user and the owner of the content.

So how will the directive address all this? It puts people first and the new text being proposed by parliamentarian Voss makes significant concessions to take on board concerns raised in July: 

  • only services who give access to a significant amount of works as a main purpose are covered
  • micro and small services won’t be covered by the new rules, with non-profit services also out
  • encyclopedias, open source software & blogging sites are also specifically exempted
  • citizens will be in the clear as licences will automatically cover their uploads
  • there is no longer any obligation to apply technical measures to identify works
  • platforms & rightsholders will co-operate to prevent availability of unauthorised content
  • non-infringing works and other works, e.g. covered by exceptions, must not be taken down
  • the rules allowing caricature and parody will continue to apply to memes and other uploads
  • freedom of expression and other fundamental rights will be upheld for creators & citizens
  • a new complaints mechanism will provide redress and human review
  • rules about privacy and processing personal data must be respected
  • users will also have access to an independent body to assert their use of an exception
  • member states will draw up best practices on implementing licences:
    • fundamental rights, exceptions will be taken into account
    • burden on SMEs will need to be appropriate
    • automated blocking of content will be avoided
  • creators will have a say online, no matter how big they are or where they come from
  • benefits for authors and performers are set out in rules governing contracts:
  • fair and transparent remuneration, contract adjustment, dispute resolution, rights reversion

This is a set of principles and safeguards that everyone can respect.

What could be more inspiring than that?

Fans get to discover and enjoy more music.

Artists have a say and more revenue.

Online services get a clear set of rules which can still adapt to different sizes and types of service.

Music companies, who today are solicited more than ever by artists looking for innovative professional partners, can invest more in talent.

Freedom of expression and other fundamental rights of creators and citizens are upheld in the online world.

All eyes are now on the EU as it rewrites the rules of the game. It is well qualified for the job. At its heart, Europe always has been a cultural project, an audacious democratic experiment to negotiate our differences, a home for all voices, big and small.

The last vote took place amidst massive lobbying which tried to pitch people against creators and their partners.

Let’s enshrine the fundamental rights of both and show that balance is possible. Let’s modernise copyright and make Europe the best place in the world for culture.

Let’s make the internet fair and sustainable for all.


Read more about what the directive is about here


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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