Creative sector flags transfer of value issue with Bulgarian Presidency

Ahead of the COREPER meeting that brings together the Member States’ Permanent Representatives today to discuss the Copyright Directive, the creative sector joined forces again to urge the Bulgarian Presidency to tackle the transfer of value issue.

Transfer of value, or the siphoning of value from creators to a number of online platforms, is a major issue faced by the entire creative sector, that puts its sustainability at risk. The letter points out that now is the time to bank on an “unmissable opportunity for a solution”, working on the basis of the Commission’s September 2016 proposal, which was a first step in the right direction.


Read the full letter below or here


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Dear Prime Minister Borissov,

Dear Minister Pavlova,

Dear Minister Banov,

We represent musical, audio-visual, literary, visual authors; performers; book, press, musical, scientific, technical and medical publishers; recorded music, film and TV producers; football leagues; broadcasters; distributors and photo agencies.

These are at the very heart of Europe’s creative sector.

We have formed an alliance to campaign for a solution to a major problem which is holding back our sector and jeopardising future sustainability – the Transfer of Value, otherwise known as the Value Gap.

The Value Gap is the growing mismatch between the value that online User Uploaded Content (‘UUC’) website services extract from creative content and the revenues returned to the creative community.

User uploaded content services have become vast distributors of our creative works e.g. film, music, photos, broadcasts, text and sport content – all while refusing to negotiate fair or any copyright licences with us as right holders.

This problem is caused by a lack of clarity surrounding the application of copyright to certain online services and the abuse of European copyright ‘safe harbour’ rules in the e-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) by those services.

Bulgaria’s EU Presidency provides the unmissable opportunity for a solution as it will lead the Council’s work on the EU Copyright Directive proposal, which was tabled by the European Commission in September 2016.

As an alliance we are convinced that the European Commission’s proposal is a step in the right direction to provide for a balanced and effective solution that should clarify that:

  • UUC services communicate to the public under the EU copyright framework and therefore are obliged to obtain licences for copyright protected works, unless eligible for e-Commerce Directive ‘safe harbours’;
  • UUC services who play an “active role” (for instance by promotion or optimisation of content) cannot benefit from ‘safe harbours’.

There is no solution to the Transfer of Value/Value Gap problem without those key elements. This approach is supported by CJEU jurisprudence, most notably in the L’Oreal v. eBay and Stichting Brein v. Ziggo BV (‘The Pirate Bay’) cases. The approach is also in line with the acquis communautaire – as has been noted by the Council’s Legal Service – and with international copyright law.

It is important to recall that the underlying policy objective of this legislation is to address the current unfairness in the online market due to the misapplication of copyright liability rules by UUC services. We would therefore like to stress that the focus should remain on finding effective solutions to tackle this issue.

As an alliance, we look forward to working with your Presidency to achieve an effective solution to the Value Gap problem for the benefit of Europe.

We remain at your disposal for any further information you may require.

Yours sincerely,

  • ACT – The Association of Commercial Television in Europe.
  • CEPIC – Center of the Picture Industry.
  • CEPI TV – The European Coordination of Independent Producers.
  • CIAGP – The International Council of Creators of Graphic, Plastic and Photographic Arts.
  • CIAM – The International Council of Music Authors.
  • CISAC – The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers.
  • ECSA – The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance.
  • EPC – The European Publishers Council.
  • EPFL – The official representative and the common voice of the major 32 European Professional Football Leagues and more than 900 Football Clubs across Europe.
  • EUROCINEMA – Representing the interests of film and television producers.
  • EUROPA DISTRIBUTION – The European network of independent film distributors.
  • FEP – The Federation of European Publishers.
  • FIAD – The International Federation of Film Distributors’ Associations.
  • GESAC – The European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers.
  • IAO – International Artist Organisation of Music.
  • ICMP – Representing the interests of the music publishing community internationally.
  • IFPI – Representing the recording industry worldwide.
  • IMPALA – The European association of independent music companies.
  • IMPF – The Independent Music Publishers Forum.
  • SAA – The Society of Audiovisual Authors.
  • STM – The global trade association for academic and professional publishers.
  • Tf1 – Media group.
  • W&DW – Writers & Directors Worldwide.