European Parliament is asked to provide a fair digital ecosystem for creators

Creators Need a Fair Digital Ecosystem

The Biggest Platforms are not Paying for Creative Content

These days, we regularly read about creators being underpaid by YouTube and the negative effects this has on the overall market. Although YouTube attracts far more users than all of the fully licensed services combined, it provides close to nothing for creators. And they’re not alone: SoundCloud, Dailymotion, Google Images are just a few of those who do not or only barely pay for what is the foundation of their business model. They claim the law does not apply to them, that they are not obliged to pay creators and they can therefore remunerate entirely on their own terms.

All over the world, artists and creators are saying enough is enough. Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Kraftwerk, ABBA, Stromae and many more are speaking up for the millions of creators being harmed. The damage is not limited to the music sector or a few successful artists; it affects all creators, be they film directors, photographers, sculptors, etc.

This Massive Transfer of Value is Undercutting Creativity

Rather than being used to sustain and nurture the creative ecosystem, the entire value of cultural and creative works is instead being harvested by these user uploaded or aggregated content platforms, which have become the main points of access to music, TV series, images and other protected content online.

In 2014, YouTube had 183m active monthly users in Europe, SoundCloud had 100m. In comparison, Spotify, which fully licenses its content, stood at 24m.

Copyright Law Needs to be Clarified

Given the scale of the problem and the size of these platforms, there is a need for more than an “encouragement to negotiate” or a limp reference to “cooperation” in the law. Faced with these giants, authors’ right/copyright is the only leverage creators have to negotiate fair remuneration.

Recently, 58 Members of the European Parliament called upon the Commission to provide legal certainty for rights holders in its legislative proposal expected this autumn. They rightly underlined the urgent need to clarify in EU copyright law that the safe harbour regime that limits liability for intermediaries is not applicable to services that play an active role in distributing, promoting and monetising content at the expense of creation.

Europe must rise to the occasion: this is your opportunity to secure a future for a digital single market that thrives with culture and innovation!

  • Read the article in the Parliament Magazine here (page 38).