Strasbourg, 11th September 2018

This article was first published in Music Business Worldwide

The following MBW blog comes from Helen Smith (pictured), Chair of European independent music trade body IMPALA.

Smith’s piece is published ahead of the crucial European Parliament vote on the Copyright Directive tomorrow (September 12), which will decide the fate of the much-discussed Article 13 – a provision which, if voted through, could force the likes of YouTube to face legal responsibility for copyright infringement on their platforms.

The forecast for tomorrow in Strasbourg is promising, hot and sunny. The summer continues…

But why care about the weather?

The fun is all indoors, where the European Parliament will vote on Europe’s proposed copyright reform.

We have all read that this is about copyright and platforms, Article 13 and the ‘value gap’ (or upload filters and censorship machines depending on your leaning).

It must be important. In the last week, we even heard YouTube finally speak out. And Wyclef Jean too, saying that those who support addressing the value gap want to tear down the internet.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s good to be able to engage with the tangible.

As flagged by the EuropeForCreators campaign: “We are Europe for Creators. We represent some 12 million jobs across the European cultural and creative sectors. We are people, not bots. And we are protesting against the false divide that has been put between citizens and us.”

The question the music sector asks is whether the reform is good for creators?

Parliamentarians want to know whether copyright reform will be for the good for both creators and citizens?

Yesterday IMPALA posted what we see as the keys to understanding the copyright debate, putting ourselves in the mindset of politicians who have to be able to tell their constituents what it means.

The messages may be simple, but the vote tomorrow will be far from it.

There are multiple texts to be voted on. We back what the lead parliamentarian Axel Voss proposed and here ar some infographics on why.


We appreciate the work and reflection that has gone into the different texts proposed on Article 13.

The debate starts this afternoon (September 11). With 751 parliamentarians, it’s important to hear the different viewpoints and final outcome will be richer as a result.

At the same time, so much evidence has come out recently about how the anti-copyright lobbying is organised and financed, that we must also make a point of standing strong.

Our message for parliamentarians tomorrow will be to think of the artists they haven’t even heard of yet and decide whether they want a level playing field for all.

Most parliamentarians agree that there is an urgent need for change. That’s good news. There are, however, differing views and only two solutions which the cultural sectors support. The others are seen as a step back.

To add to the plot, these two solutions should really be one. Led by two parliamentarians who have both done a sterling job in promoting the interests of creators, fundamental differences mean there are two texts on the table.

Why send a clear message and have a single vote to unite around, when you can confuse everyone and split the vote?

But this is politics after all, so we trust them to find a solution.

Watch this space…

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

Rue des Deux Eglises 37-39, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

+32 2 503 31 38