Meet the Authors November 2015 – a recap

On 18 November, GESAC organised, together with its members, and kindly hosted by MEPs Bogdan Wenta, Hannu Takkula and José Blanco López the latest Meet the Authors event. It provided a fruitful debate on two issues that matter most to creators and the creative sector: transfer of value and common needs of creators and consumers. The meeting was attended by more than 100 people: creators, representatives of GESAC member societies, MEPs, Political advisors, MEP assistants, representatives from Member States and European Commission officials. Pictures of the event are available at Very short interviews were organised for authors and MEPs. These are available at

The feedback from MEPs is positive: they welcomed this initiative and found the debates very useful. They particularly appreciated the opportunity to meet and exchange with creators.

We’ve made a short recap of the debates held:

In the first panel, creators gave their insight on the transfer of value issue and expressed their concerns and expectations. Transfer of value is an important problem, not only for the music sector, but also for creators from all sectors including the audio-visual and visual arts. The digital market has evolved and cultural content is no longer only available exclusively from digital service providers. Platforms and self-proclaimed intermediaries are increasingly becoming the main access routes to cultural content and to protected works. These platforms deny undertaking copyright relevant acts and refuse to pay any or appropriate remuneration to authors. British composer Crispin Hunt illustrated the problem by pointing out that Spotify had paid more to the music industry in the last two years than YouTube (who provides 55% of the world’s music) in 10 years! What part of this actually goes to the authors is yet another issue. German author Enjott Schneider pointed out that the current system does not allow for a sustainable career and authors get poorer and poorer. This is a paradox and a challenge which puts the future of the entire cultural ecosystem at risk and should be addressed at EU level. MEPs attending the panel recognised the need for the EU to provide a solution to ensure that those creating the content can continue to create and cultural and creative industries (CCI) can have a sustainable future. The review of the EU copyright legal framework provides an opportunity to address this issue and the liability of self-proclaimed internet intermediaries.

Copyright has not created an artificial scarcity, on the contrary; music is everywhere. Copyright is not an obstacle to freedom of speech either, as some who are against addressing the online intermediaries issue would argue. In fact authors deem it necessary that they should get some value back from the use of their works, as it sustains their independence and capacity for creating more. In other words: it’s their freedom of speech that is at stake.

In the second panel, Polish composer Marek Hojda and Spanish composer Francisco Nixon underlined that consumers and creators have the same goal: consumers want new works, while authors want to be able to continue to create new works. Conflicts over access to information are mostly artificial and lead to weakening authors’ voices. Copyright is often portrayed as in contrast with consumer interests and/or as an obstacle to access to works. This toxic cloud has to be removed. MEPs said that access to works is a big challenge but they do not see a real conflict between consumers and creators. The digital world does not exclude fair remuneration and adequate compensation for exceptions when they are necessary. The different interests of stakeholders have to be reconciled and a balance has to be found. MEPs also underlined that any solution should be understood and accepted by consumers.

MEPs noted that a holistic approach is needed and measures other than copyright, such as a strong European economic policy for the sustainability of culture, are also required to ensure lively and strong CCIs. We need to make sure that big internet players are playing the game. MEPs also emphasised the importance of creators: without authors there is no culture and no CCI. This needs to be reminded and taken into account by the European Commission.