US music organisations ask government to support EU copyright reform proposals


US music organisations ask government to support EU copyright reform proposals

Benedikt Saxler /

A number of US music organisations have sent a letter to the US government, asking it to “support the interests of its creative music community” by backing article 13 of the EU copyright directive proposals.

The CEOs of American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), Broadcast Music and the National Music Publishers’ Association were among those who sent a letter to Anthony Gardner, the US ambassador to the EU, on Thursday, November 3.

The letter centres on copyright proposals which were announced by the European Commission on September 14.

In its statement, the commission set out proposals on the modernisation of copyright to increase cultural diversity in Europe and content available online.

The proposals came as part of the commission’s Digital Single Market strategy.

According to the proposals, article 13 “creates an obligation on information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users to take appropriate and proportionate measures”.

The music organisations said article 13 was a welcome and enormously important development for American music and the entire US creative economy.

According to the letter, US copyright industries generate over $1 trillion of economic output and account for nearly 7% of the gross national product as a whole.

It added that the industries employ nearly 5.5 million workers who contribute in excess of $156 billion in foreign sales and exports.

The US music industry is an “important part of this creative sector” and to maintain this contribution, it must be ensured that “practices overseas promote and protect American creators and their works”, said the letter.

“That is why we enthusiastically support passage of article 13 of the recent proposed commission copyright directive, which will benefit US creators by directly addressing what has been called the 'value gap'."

By way of example, the organisations said that Spotify paid its creators $18 per user in 2014, but YouTube “delivered less” than $1 per user to music creators in 2015.

The letter added that article 13 “recognises the importance of correcting this disparity, essentially requiring those that act as music distribution services to negotiate free market licences or take meaningful action to prevent unlicenced works from appearing on their services”.

A spokesperson for the US Mission to the EU told WIPR: "The US government routinely receives input from US stakeholders on issues that affect their interests. The US Mission to the EU is coordinating with Washington agencies to analyse the commission’s legislative proposals and their possible impact on a wide range of US stakeholders. 

"We encourage the EU institutions to continue engaging with stakeholders in an open and transparent manner as the commission’s proposals make their way through the legislative process."

A spokesperson for the Nashville Songwriters Association said: “The Nashville Songwriters Association is glad to join other US music trade associations to address what we believe is the responsibility of YouTube and other digital companies to be required to make appropriate payment to music creators and to create enforcement mechanisms for distribution of materials that infringe copyright.  

"We will continue to engage in this effort until we find solutions.”

A spokesperson for Spotify said that it won't be able to provide a comment. 

Ed Leonard, co-chairman of the Gospel Music Association and chairman of the Christian Music Trade Association, told TBO that "we support the letter and the protection of intellectual property and proper compensation for its use."

American Association of Independent Music, copyright, online copyright, music, European Commission, Spotify, YouTube,

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