MEPs due to vote on new bill that changes EU copyright law

UK music business leaders as well as Shadow Culture Secretary and deputy Labour leader Tom Watson and UK Music CEO Michael Dugher, headed to Brussels last month to encourage European MPs to vote in support of changes to EU copyright law.

UK Music has reported that the new bill – Copyright in the Digital Single Market, will ensure that ‘tech firms properly pay those who invest in and create British music.’ And that the new law would prevent the ‘transfer of value’ from creators to digital service providers.

In contrast, critics have claimed that the new law would have a negative impact on the freedom of the internet and could put an end to memes, remixes and other user-generated content.

The bill is intended to help simplify and update existing EU copyright law to account for modern technologies and organisations including ‘online content sharing service providers’ such as YouTube. The key clause in regards to music is Article 13.

Article 13 says that ‘online content sharing service providers’ need to obtain authorisation from the rightholders of the work or other subject matter in order to communicate or make it available to the public. Authorisation will also cover content uploaded by users of the service when they are not acting on a commercial basis.

The ‘online content sharing service provider’ shall not be held accountable if they can prove that they have made best efforts to prevent the future availability of the work and that they have taken actions to remove or disable access if notified by the rightholder of copyright infringement.

The BBC reported that Independent Music Companies Association (Impala) executive chair Helen Smith said: ‘It clarifies what the music sector has been saying for years: if you are in the business of distributing music or other creative works, you need a licence, clear and simple. It’s time for the digital market to catch up with progress.’

MEPs are due to vote on 5 July.

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