European Union Aims to Implement Forced Content Quotas on Streaming Services by the End of 2019

Major creative organizations have banded together in support of the Copyright Directive and Article 13.

After seemingly hitting a brick wall several months ago, the Copyright Directive – which includes the controversial Article 13 measure – cleared another major legal hurdle in February.

Thanks to France and Germany’s new compromise, the European Parliament’s Justice Committee voted in favor of the bill.  The latest version includes statutes the music industry has long pushed for – safe harbor reforms and new rights for European songwriters and artists.

The decision means that the European Parliament will now have its final say on the Copyright Directive – and Article 13 – by the end of March.

Now, ahead of the final vote, over 200 European copyright groups have banded together in support of the bill.

#Yes2Copyright

In an open letter, over 200 organizations from across the cultural and creative sectors representing authors, composers, writers, journalists, photographers as well as news agencies, audiovisual producers, book, press, and music publishers have united under one hashtag – #Yes2Copyright.  They’ve called on the European Parliament to adopt the controversial bill.

The letter reads,

We, the undersigned organizations, representing authors, composers, writers, journalists, performers and others working in all artistic fields, news agencies, book, press and music publishers, audiovisual, and independent music producers call on the European Parliament to adopt the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

If passed, the bill would grant copyright holders more control over their works on UGC sites like YouTube and Facebook.  It would also impose stiff penalties on tech giants who fail to filter and police their platforms for infringing content.

In short, Article 13 would force digital platforms to pay content creators for using their work, while imposing stiff penalties for those failing to filter against infringement.

According to the open letter, the organizations have “long sought” a way to create a “much-needed level playing field.”  This would give creators – and citizens – better access to a wider array of content that remains “fair and sustainable for all.”

Critics, including major tech companies and paid-for activist groups, have long derided the Copyright Directive.  They claim the bill – especially Article 13 – would limit self-expression on the internet.

MEP Julia Reda, a member of the Pirate Party, a pro-piracy group, explained,

In practice, all sites and apps where users may share content will likely be forced to accept any license a rightsholder offers them, no matter how bad the terms, and no matter whether they actually want that rightsholder’s copyrighted material to be available on their platform, to avoid the massive legal risk of coming in conflict with Article 13.

Amidst major infighting between artists and labels/publishers, Pan-European music industry organizations now largely support the bill.  These include IMPALA, GESAC, and ECSA.  Names attached to the letter also include BIEM, CIAM, CISAC, IAO, and IMPF.

 


Featured image by Nick Youngson (CC by 3.0).