MEPs meet with the creative sector about the value of content and online platforms

Brussels, 25/01/2016 –MEPs Therese Comodini Cachia and Virginie Rozière hosted an event today at the European Parliament with GESAC (the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers), IFPI (the International Federation of Phonographic Industries), and supported by a wide spectrum of rights holders organisations. MEPs were invited to dialogue with the creative sector over the crucial issue of transfer of value / value gap and how it should be addressed within the copyright reform.

Rapporteur of the draft Copyright Directive MEP Comodini Cachia opened the event, underlining her objective to hear from all stakeholders and to have a comprehensive understanding of this key issue before issuing her report: “it is essential for all voices to be heard in this debate so that we can find a balanced and meaningful solution. I look forward to hearing the creative sector’s view on the Commission’s Copyright Directive proposal and taking on board their perspective, together with the many others I’ve consulted over the past weeks.”

On stage were an author, an academic, licencing experts of authors’ societies and labels, and providers of technology solutions for platforms. Fourteen MEPs participated in the discussions with these experts on the creative sector, asking questions about all aspects of the crucial issue of transfer of value/value gap and the solutions proposed by the Commission.

Expressing the urgency of the situation, Scottish musician and songwriter Jim Duguid said: “simply put, songwriters need to be paid fairly for the use of our works. That means we need a digital music market that works for all of us. If that doesn’t happen, I worry about the future. How can we continue as professional music creators when we are not paid fairly for our work? This isn’t something that we can do ourselves. If a clarification to the law is required to rebalance the market, then we should all support that change.”

Christophe Depreter, President of GESAC added: “the Commission’s proposal sets the record straight on how to interpret the existing legislation. It will give back to authors the rights that have been taken away from them with the onset of large UUC platforms that claim to be mere intermediaries with no copyright liability despite having a clear active role and communicating to the public.”

The event was closed by MEP Virginie Rozière who said: “Transfer of value is an issue that could hamper the dynamism of the cultural sector in Europe if not tackled. We need to provide individual creators, cultural industries and service providers with a level playing field. The steps taken by the Commission in its legislative proposal are welcome and the Parliament will now work to ensure the smooth functioning of EU Digital Single Market, source of new business models, emerging companies and employment.”

Photo 1: MEP Therese Comodini Cachia – © de Ribaucourt Photography

  • Photo 2: MEPs Sabine Verheyen, Constance Le Grip, and Virginie Rozière – © de Ribaucourt Photography
  • Photo 3: MEP Helga Trüpel speaking, surrounded by MEPs Henna Virkkunen and Dietmar Köster – © de Ribaucourt Photography
  • Pictures of the event can be found here
  • Check out the programme of the event here
  • MEP Therese Comodini Cachia (EPP, Malta) is a lawyer by profession. She was elected as Member of the European Parliament in 2014, and is a member of the JURI, CULT and DROI committees. She has worked on DSM related files such as that of geo-blocking, cultural and creative industries as well as on the implementation of Infosoc. She is currently rapporteur for the Copyright Directive report in the Legal Affairs Committee.
  • Trained as a lawyer, Christophe Depreter has been active in the field of authors’ rights for many years. He joined Sabam in 1997, the Belgian authors’ society that represents over 39,000 authors, composers and publishers. In 2009, he became Sabam’s CEO. In 2012, Mr Depreter was elected President of GESAC. He was recently re-elected for a two year term.
  • Jim Duguid is a Scottish musician and songwriter best known for co-writing the Alex Clare song “Too Close”. He has also written for the likes of Paolo Nutini, Serena Ryder and co-wrote and co-produced Arno Carstens’ 2010 album Wonderful Wild. Duguid began his career as the drummer of the band Speedway, which he founded with fellow Glaswegian Jill Jackson in 2001. Speedway released one full-length album, Save Yourself.
  • MEP Virginie Rozière (S&D, France) graduated as an engineer from the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure. She worked in several French Ministries, from Defence to Economy, Finance and Industry, and first worked at the European Parliament as administrator for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. She was elected to the European Parliament in 2014 for the France Southwest region, leading the PS-PRG list.