Brussels, 14th May 2012
IMPALA welcomes European Commissioner Barnier's most recent commitment to copyright. Still available in French only, the Commissioner responsible for intellectual property was keen to debunk the myths surrounding copyright and make the reality clear.
The Commissioner rejected claims that copyright is a barrier which prevents citizens from consuming cultural/creative works online and that its abolition could solve everything. He specifically rejected assertions that free access to culture should be recognised, with artists able to receive sufficient remuneration through other channels.
Mr Barnier said such a scenario would lead to copyright creators no longer being able to create. Bigger artists would manage, he claimed, whereas independent artists and newcomers would not. Without copyright, citizens will not have universal access to culture online, according to the Commissioner.
Mr Barnier insisted upon the urgent need for a true "digital pact" between citizens and creators, based on a revised legal framework.
To read Commissioner Barnier's speech in full (in French), click here.
IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent 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. SME’s also produce 80% of Europe’s jobs. Their potential is enormous but is hampered by complex barriers to trade and severe market access problems. The impact on diversity, consumer choice and pluralism is clear. Over 95% of what most people hear and see, whether on radio, retail or the internet, is concentrated in the hands of four multinationals, known as the majors.
Cultural and creative SMEs are now officially recognised by the EU as “the drivers of growth, job creation and innovation”. IMPALA expects the EC and its member countries to put in place key investment, digital and market access measures. Fostering Europe's economy of culture and diversity is one of the EU's top priorities in becoming the world's leading knowledge economy. Culture is a bigger earner than any of chemicals, automobiles or ICT manufacturing and provides more than 3% of Europe's jobs. IMPALA has its own award schemes to help promote cultural diversity and new talent and highlight the artistic contribution of independent music. IMPALA award winning artists include Efterklang, Adele, Manu Chao, Radiohead, Agnes Obel, Caro Emerald and Sigur Ros.