PRS for Music launches Streamfair

PRS for Music has launched Streamfair, a new campaign to raise awareness about the need for legislative reform to ensure music creators are properly remunerated in the streaming market.

The collecting society, which represents more than 110,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, says the initiative will focus on four key areas: copyright legislation, online licensing, promoting the value of music creators and education.

First and foremost, Streamfair is calling for legal clarity on who can benefit from ‘safe harbour’ provisions, which were originally introduced to support investment and innovation for internet service providers.

The organisation is concerned that some online content providers – such as User Generated Content (UGC) services – rely on these provisions to avoid paying proper licence fees and are threatening the long term sustainability and growth of the online music market.

The lack of clarity about who is truly an ‘intermediary’ in the current European legislation has deprived creators of the ability to consent to the use of their works, PRS for Music says.

This has resulted in a transfer of value from the creative industries to the technology platforms, to the detriment of consumers and the UK economy.

Robert Ashcroft, PRS for Music chief executive, said: It is unacceptable that some online content providers use safe harbour provisions either to make token payments or avoid the need to pay a licence altogether by insisting that they are not liable for content even though their business models are predicated on monetising the creative works they carry.

‘Furthermore, it’s not right that legitimate, fully licensed digital service providers have to endure the resulting unfair competition, which is stifling their growth and potential profitability. Unfair competition with free services is a problem that will not fix itself and requires intervention from the legislator… that’s why Streamfair is a timely and crucial campaign.’

Streamfair also pledges support for legitimate online businesses, to help ensure they get to market quickly, and can thrive and scale, saying that ‘successful, innovative and legitimate digital service providers are vital to the ongoing success of the UK and global music market’.

Elsewhere, the campaign will promote the value of music creators to ensure they are recognised and rewarded for their work.

It will also tackle educational issues around streaming, to enable people to understand that those making music should get a fair deal.

The online music market now accounts for approximately 50 percent of overall sales globally with streaming services increasingly driving the change.

In the past year, PRS for Music’s royalties from streaming services at £38.8m exceeded those of downloads for the first time at £26.7m – a trend repeated in 37 markets worldwide.

Recent PRS for Music research also shows that over 90 percent of UK consumers have accessed some kind of streaming service.

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