Brussels 16th November 2018
As things heat up again on the copyright directive, IMPALA's Executive Chair Helen Smith speaks out. The Financial Times has given IMPALA the lead letter slot today to reply to YT’s CEO opinion piece posted in the FT earlier this week.
The theme is, far from threatening our ecosystem as YT claims, the directive will make things clearer, fairer and sustainable for all. It will also have the safeguards that platforms of all shapes and sizes need - it should not just become about one platform’s business model.
Helen's conclusion is "This directive has been years in the making — decision makers know what the answers are. We can now move fast and we don’t even need to break things. Let’s not get distracted. Let’s make the online world clearer, fairer and sustainable for all."
Read more below...
Originally published in the Financial Times
Creators and citizens enjoy a unique relationship online. As independent music companies, we see creators, users and platforms as all essential parts of an amazing creative ecosystem.
Now we hear from Susan Wojcicki, chief executive of YouTube, that we should be scared of the proposed EU copyright directive (“The EU should change its unrealistic copyright plans”, November 13). Far from threatening our ecosystem, however, the directive will make things clearer, fairer and sustainable for all. As the Financial Times itself commented in an editorial in July, reform is much needed.
First, it confirms what the courts in Europe have already said. It clarifies that responsibility cannot lie only with the user and the owner of the content, but also with the platforms which give access to the works. That’s the clearer part. The directive also tackles the value gap — the difference between the economic value produced by a work of art or music and the money that trickles down to its creator. Platforms will have to play by the same rules. No more “take it or leave it” deals. Same rules for everyone. That’s for the fairer part.
So are we scared the directive will take away our jobs? No. On the contrary, increased remuneration for uploaded creative works will make it easier for artists and their partners to thrive. Do we think that platforms will deal with big companies only? No. The directive levels the playing field in a way that means we can all negotiate in a normal licensing environment. That’s how you make the ecosystem sustainable for all. This is about the artists you haven’t heard of yet.
For YouTube and other platforms, there are a number of safeguards in the various texts on the table. We now need to let decision makers agree on the final recipe to achieve balance. This should not be about protecting one platform’s business model. YouTube’s recent figures are designed to dazzle, but our members’ own revenue results show that for every €1 from YouTube, Spotify pays €10.
This directive has been years in the making — decision makers know what the answers are. We can now move fast and we don’t even need to break things. Let’s not get distracted. Let’s make the online world clearer, fairer and sustainable for all.
Helen Smith Executive Chair,
Impala — the Independent Music Companies Association,
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.