Looks Like the ‘New’ Article 13 Is Drawing Industry Approval — GEMA, PRS, Impala All Saying ‘Yes’

Music industry in-fighting is now giving way to group hugging.

Yesterday, we first reported that a brand-new Copyright Directive had been approved in the European Union.  The Directive, which contains the controversial Article 13, is now being shuttled to EU legal departments for a final review.

Then, EU member states and the European Parliament will vote on the measure.

Surprisingly, German performance rights society GEMA came out with a hearty approval of the updated Directive.  That unexpectedly strong endorsement wasn’t the first, however.

Just a few weeks ago, numerous music industry organizations were recommending that the EU’s Copyright Directive be scrapped.  Others were supporting the initiative, leading to a screaming discord.

Article 13, once viewed as a tough protective measure for intellectual property owners, had been overly watered down and neutered according to critics.  That was likely the result of heavy lobbying by tech giants like Google, who stripped the bill of its tougher filtering restrictions and infringement penalties.

But that was before the Article was reshaped by a Franco-German working group, and approved earlier this week.  Now, organizations that once opposed the laws are approving the updated Directive.

Or, at least conditionally granting approval subject to the release of the final text.  “Our mission has only ever been to achieve a fair and functioning digital market and, as a result, fair reward for creators,” PRS for Music CEO Richard Ashcroft emailed DMN.

“Subject to final scrutiny of the text and the forthcoming vote in Parliament it looks today as though we are going to achieve our aim.”

Indie-focused trade group IMPALA also offered a cautious green light.  “The changes made in the trilogue discussions this week will be published soon and IMPALA understands that they will help achieve a balanced text,” the group relayed.

Helen Smith, IMPALA’s executive chair, also seemed happy with the updated Directive.  “We need to see the final text, but this legislation will be the first time anywhere in the world that there is absolute confirmation that user upload services are covered by copyright and need a license,” Smith emailed.

“In line with the WIN fair digital deals declaration adopted over three years ago, IMPALA also supports the provisions in the directive on transparency and remuneration for authors and performers.”

The Artist Rights Alliance — formerly known as the Content Creators Coalition — offered perhaps the most ringing endorsement yet (not to mention a serious dig against Google).

“Article 13 represents an understanding of today’s internet grounded in reality: internet companies who otherwise claim to be innovators should not be able to hide behind phony claims of helplessness when it comes to protecting music and other creative works,” the group stated.

“These companies are pioneers — cataloging the entire internet, perfecting facial recognition technologies, mapping nearly every road and alley, and tracking and indexing each person’s internet activity. But because they profit from unlicensed use of music, when it comes to protecting our art, identifying and removing unlicensed uses of our works, and proactively preventing such unlicensed uses, those companies’ can-do attitude mysteriously disappears.”

And beyond German heavyweight GEMA, GESAC — the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers — has also given the final Directive a nod of approval.

That’s a far cry from the in-fighting witnessed earlier this week.

Earlier this month, a joint letter from the IFPI, ICMP, IMPALA urged the cancellation of the Directive.  That was supported by other heavyweights within the online video, sports, and broadcasting sectors.

Actually, we’re still not sure on where everyone stands on the updated text.  But alongside the tech industry, media heavyweight Bertelsmann is also opposed to the updated measure.  Other opinions are also trickling in.

YouTube, one of the biggest boxers in this ring, is still waiting to review the final text.  “We’ll be studying the final text of the EU Copyright Directive and it will take some time to determine next steps,” the company confirmed.  “The details will matter, so we welcome the chance to continue conversations across Europe.”

More as this develops.



7 Responses

  1. Bob Jones

    The fact that this article got zero comments, to me, means that nobody gives a rat’s ass about this awful copyright directive designed by the stooges in the EU. I’m baffled that artists honestly believe that locking up an open internet behind a copyright directive is going to magically line their pockets. I am a local, modestly known artist myself, I hand out all my music online based on a ‘pay what you think it’s worth’ basis and over the years I’ve managed to obtain a great, great crowd of fans that come to my live performances. For almost a decade now, I’m able to live well this way. That was always my wish and goal: to be able to live well off my own music. And I can – yes I can. I have no record deal, no record company, distributor or any other middle man siphoning off money from me, no, I make all my money myself. My ‘pay what you think it’s worth’ principle works for me and on average, people pay somewhere between 5 to 10 Euros when they download one of my album packages. I have around 300 to 350 downloads a month (give or take a high or a low every now and then) and out of all those downloads, about 100 to 200 people pay. This harvests, on average, about 1000 Euros a month. If I add to that the money that I make while touring, you can do the math yourself: my **after tax** income, per month, is around 3000 – 4000 Euros. Believe me: that’s more than enough to live comfortably – you don’t need to be a millionaire for it. Why do I tell everyone this? Because for my own distribution, I lean heavily on the internet to post my material wherever I want to, whenever I want to. I don’t need an article 13 for that, ’cause it’ll basically make it impossible for me to ever upload my own music again, ’cause the liabilities for platforms will become so enormous that they’d rather block my uploads than assuming that it’ll be alright. I don’t want to “license” my music to anyone. I’m already selling more than enough as it is. Those who really take the time to read the full copyright directive and especially article 13, can not in their right mind say that it’s alright. It’s also a major red flag to me that especially the big film- and record corporations are “in support” of this awful law. But it makes sense: there where everyone else paid attention and noticed the massive opportunities the internet offers, and I’m talking way back in the days, 1997/1998 in my case, the known companies were kicking and screaming blue murder and refused to innovate. Now, 20 years down the road, the only option they had was to do what they’ve done best over the years: lobby and spend billions of dollars to get what they want, how they want it. And so we end up in a world where everything has to be licensed, ’cause god forbid they change their business models. We’re flashing ourselves back into time with this directive folks and nobody seems to give a flying f**k. Well, not in my name. And if you’re a modern, innovative and creative artist and you support this law, then you simply have not read properly into this bill and you will remain nothing more than an industry puppet who probably signed away more than you knew then. You can talk to me all you want about how much more you can make through having your music in movies, commercials, compilations, etc etc, but again: I’m living off of my music and I’m living well. And that’s what I always wanted as a kid and I’m doing it. I’m living my dream. I’m not making music to become a millionaire. How much is enough for you anyway? Is money really the one and only reason you’re making music? I want to live as an artist, in completely creative independence and I can. You can do it, too. But you have to be creative and not depend on the beaten path of industry shills that’ll tell you that you’re going to be large. Oh yes, I’ve spent blood, sweat and tears on my music. Not to mention the money I invest in recording. But that’s exactly what it is: an investment. And it pays off for me, without any involvement from “the industry”. Article 13 should be removed and not be supported.

    • Auteur

      Speak for yourself. I’m a musician and I’m thrilled it is going to pass.

      • Bob Jones

        Really? On what basis? Ever heard of trolling? Support your claim, elaborate. But if you’re “thrilled” I don’t think I’m even going to take you seriously. You’re a musician? Me too. Did you even read my reply?

    • Natalie

      YouTube, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and all similar platforms should cut off support to the EU completely until Article 13 is completely scrapped. Then all our fellow musicians can see how much worse it is when they don’t have any platform at all outside their local bubble.

      • Mike Mos

        Although I wouldn’t put Youtube (a content distributor) and Bandcamp (a record store) in the same category, that would be interesting. At the very least it would show these platforms don’t really care about the content creators. And don’t blame them, they’re just companies trying to make as much money as possible.

        Furthermore, it opens a gap to be filled with new initiatives. Initiatives that have fair renumeration of content providers in their DNA.

    • Mike Mos

      Hello Bob,

      It seems to me you think this is just the record industry pushing their wishes. While your rant against the record industry has some merit, you seem to miss what article 13 is really about. (I’ll assume that you mean uploading to one of the big platforms when you talk about uploading to the internet)

      Just like you I’m an independent musician making a living off his music. And I’m glad article 13 passed. For me article 13 hasn’t primarily to do with the record industries pushing their agenda’s (although of course they are), it has to do with treating for-profit platforms for what they are: distributors of content. Youtube and similar platforms have knowingly abused the safe harbor provision over the last few years. This is merely setting the record straight. And yes, you will still be able to upload your music to the internet. But maybe not to the platforms that make money over your back. Good riddance, I would say.

      I also see the value of the internet as a way to help help you make a living. But for me the internet is much more than just the platforms. That article 13 will stifle your possibilities to distribute your music on the internet as a whole (or…. oh, the drama… destroy the open internet), is lobby-speak best left to Youtube and its bots.

      The platforms are not the internet and there is life beyond the platforms. I believe the internet will be even more open once the big platforms are out of the way. Sure, at the moment they are the most convenient way of connecting with fans. But in the worst case scenario, you could still run your own website. And there you can do what you want, as long as you don’t breach copyright. You portray yourself as a self-made man (and I’m glad for you!). But then why be so dependent on for-profit platforms?

  2. I'm definately a google 'bot'

    I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with copyright but come on!

    this is a despicable elitist bill which will HURT creators more than support them, if users can’t share the work or create fan works then your products won’t reach nearly as many people as it would have otherwise.

    If this bill passes in March all supporters of it will deserve any loss in revenue it will create.

    And then having these companies slander and insult those against it congrats but I won’t be using any product you make.