GESAC Welcomes European Commission’s Communication on Online Platforms

The European Commission published its communication on online platforms and the Digital Single Market today where it outlines its wider policy perspectives and the principles it plans to follow on addressing any issues regarding online platforms in the Digital Single Market.

GESAC welcomes the Commission’s inclusion of the “transfer of value” issue which recognizes that the value being made from cultural content by some online platforms doesn’t make its way to the creators of that very content.

The Commission announced a “sector-specific regulation in the area of copyright”, leaving any copyright issues to the care of the coming legislative proposal on the reform of the InfoSoc Directive (2001/29/EC). GESAC welcomes this approach and believes that the current issues pertaining to copyright when it comes to online platforms, such as the transfer of value, can only be addressed efficiently through specific copyright legislation.

Platform services that are primarily built on user-uploaded content or the aggregation of existing content protected by copyright, far too often provide little to no return to the creators of the works. This transfer of value to online platforms has created an inefficient and unfair market and threatens the future of the cultural and creative sectors in the Digital Single Market (read more about the issue here). The Commission should push for the transfer of value problem to be dealt with rapidly as it is key to the development of the Digital Single Market and essential for the Europe’s creative sector and the 1 million creators and rights holders that GESAC’s authors’ societies represent.

GESAC urges the Commission to keep its ambition on the liability aspect of platforms for copyright relevant acts as announced in the 9 December 2015 Communication on the copyright agenda. The online platforms’ role in making creative works available to the public is undeniable and generates considerable profits at the expense of the entire legitimate digital market for the cultural and creative sectors. It is therefore imperative that they comply with the rules that apply to the role they have.

Spanish author and SGAE member Jorge Pardo said that “it is encouraging to see the Commission clearly stating its ambition to tackle the transfer of value to online platforms. Progress is being made, but the Commission should take on a more proactive role in addressing the issue of platforms not sharing the value they create based on our works”. British author and PRS member Crispin Hunt mentioned that he was “happy the Commission mentioned the issue,” but warned that “a lot of the platforms that need to be addressed in the copyright reform are very vocal in their efforts to convince policy-makers that the status quo is just fine.” He continued: “now is the time to make sure authors are heard in Brussels so that this issue remains central and is properly addressed.”

GESAC groups 34 of the largest authors’ societies in the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. We defend and promote the rights of about 1 million creators and rights holders in the areas of music, audiovisual works, visual arts, and literary and dramatic works.

About Jorge Pardo
Jorge Pardo is an internationally renowned composer and musician who has had notorious collaborations like his world tours with flamenco legend Paco de Lucía. He writes jazz and flamenco music and was awarded the European Jazz Prize by the French Jazz Academy in 2013, and the Spanish National Current Music Award in 2015.

About Crispin Hunt
Crispin Hunt has written or worked with or for Rihanna, Florence and the Machine, Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith, Rod Stewart and numerous others. He also campaigns and speaks internationally representing musicians’ rights, and previously worked in the House of Commons as Parliamentary Researcher and Campaign Coordinator.



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