Getting copyright reform right

Earlier this year, we were delighted to hear Michel Barnier – European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services – describe copyright as ‘the engine behind the diversity, the creativity and the innovation which can be delivered to us all through the internet’.

In these few words, Mr Barnier encapsulates the importance of copyright. As consumers, we’ve seen great strides taking place over the last few decades thanks to the internet – from devices like tablets to services such as YouTube. In amidst all this – overwhelmingly positive – change, copyright has been the constant: it’s the crucial element that ensures the benefits we enjoy do not adversely affect the livelihoods of the creators we love.

We’ve written before about the importance of improving the implementation of authors’ rights and neighbouring rights. We know there are gaps to be filled, and we welcome efforts to improve the governance of author societies with open arms.

Where we can’t be flexible is on reform to the phasing out creators’ rights. In fact, we argue that copyright has never been as crucial as it is today.

Sustainability and growth…for Europe

Copyright ensures the sustainability of the cultural and creative industries that make an invaluable economic, cultural and intellectual contribution to Europe’s well-being. Put simply, it means creators get paid and can continue creating.

Without copyright, Europe’s indigenous and healthy cultural and creative industries – worth a hefty 8.5 million jobs and some 4.5% of European Union Gross Domestic Product according to a recent European Commission paper – would stall. And that’s quite a threat in these tough economic times.

A weaker cultural market would diminish the rich fabric that Europe currently enjoys. It would also stem Europe’s influence on the world stage, and compromise the global cultural mix.


Author societies – still a crucial role

Today, consumers have access to over 260 legal digital services offering more than 26 million tracks. That’s quite incredible – and would be utterly unmanageable if it weren’t for author societies. Author societies are the key link between creators and the online world and key players in reconciling digital growth and innovation with the moral and financial integrity of Europe’s creators. They will become even more important for creators, cultural diversity and economic growth in the years to come – not less so.


We’re always ready to debate the issue of copyright – and to explain our point of view.  We look forward to Wednesday’s event, and trust that all stakeholders can work together to find the best solution.