Parliament Sends Strong Message on Copyright: No More Free Riding for UUC Platforms

GESAC Press Release – Brussels, 11/07/2017 – Two important votes took place today on the Copyright Directive in the European Parliament, and the message was clear: user uploaded content (UUC) platforms will be held liable for the copyright protected works they provide access to and currently heavily cash in on. The Copyright Directive proposal, first put on the table by the Commission in September 2016, has been a source of heated debates, myths and scaremongering, but also hope for creators.

Last year, over 22,000 creators signed a letter to President Juncker, urging the Commission to act on the transfer of value issue (or platforms funnelling the value of content from its creators). Since then, and despite a positive first step having been taken with the Commission’s legislative proposal, the issue is still very much alive among the creative community. A new call to the European Union, launched by French visual artist Daniel Buren at the Meet the Authors event last May, with similar demands, has already gathered over 6,000 signatures.

The need for action therefore did not go unnoticed among the CULT and ITRE Committees, which both sent a clear signal today that they would not tolerate free-riding platforms, and that the solution proposed by the European Commission in September last year was an encouraging first step that needed further clarification. In both Committees, the parts of the text dealing with the transfer of value issue (Recitals 37 through 39 and Article 13) were by and large reinforced and clarified. GESAC welcomes this support and is confident that this signal will be taken on board and further developed by the JURI Committee, as its Report goes to vote in October.

The adopted texts in CULT and ITRE would finally make it possible for authors to negotiate fair remuneration with UUC platforms, due to an unapologetic closing of the current loophole that has allowed so much value to be funnelled from authors to tech giants. GESAC warmly welcomes this development.

On a side note, the CULT Committee also voted against an unnecessary compulsory User Generated Content (UGC) exception today. An optional UGC exception was instead agreed on. GESAC duly notes this development.

GESAC, the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers, comprises authors’ societies from across the European Union, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. As such, we represent more than 1 million creators and rights holders in the areas of musical, audiovisual, visual arts, and literary and dramatic works.

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