The EU Parliament voted Thursday to open debate on Article 13, sweeping legislation that revamps copyright law in the European Union, putting more onus on the likes of YouTube and Facebook to police user generated content. The vote, which opens the door for amendments that could weaken the bill, is seen as a setback for the music industry. But even after they vote, they vowed to fight on.
"Today’s decision means there will be another debate. We are confident that in September the Parliament will reach a conclusion and secure a fair and sustainable internet," said Helen Smith of indie trade group Impala. "Platforms facilitate a unique relationship between artists and fans, and copyright reform should help rebalance the licensing framework around this."
Addressing aggressive tactics by Google and other tech companies to fight the legislation, Smith added, ""Copyright aside, the hijacking of the process raises fundamental questions about how incumbent platforms and supposedly objective operators abuse their position. It underlines the need for greater transparency and scrutiny, especially with actors who have huge potential to influence public opinion and are not shy about using it."
“This vote was never about censorship or freedom of speech. It was only about updating the copyright rules to the 21st Century and ensuring that creators get a fair remuneration when their works are used in the digital space,” said GESAC President Anders Lassen.
"The compliance and necessity of the rules proposed by the text, yet unfortunately manipulative campaigns orchestrated by tech giants based on scaremongering prevailed on this occasion. We are confident that the European Parliament will finally approve what is right for the future of the EU’s economy, competitiveness and fundamental values against these global forces”.
“Today is a great disappointment for millions of creators who have campaigned for years for the right to fair treatment and fair payment from giant internet platforms," Jean Michel Jarre, President of CISAC. "“It is incredibly disappointing that, having been ferociously lobbied by opponents using false arguments, the European Parliament has stopped short of supporting the fair rights of creators."
“We will not be discouraged by today’s decision and will continue to mobilise the support of musicians and music lovers across the world, in the hopes of reaching a fair agreement with these platforms that will safeguard the future of the music industry," said David El Sayegh, French PRO SACEM’s Secretary General in a statement following the vote. “We are confident that the European Parliament will eventually support a framework that fully acknowledges the rights of creators in the digital landscape of the 21st century.”