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IMPALA and IFPI welcome European Commission’s digital single market

By | Published on Friday 8 May 2015

European Commission

Global record industry trade group IFPI and pan-European indies organisation IMPALA have both welcomed the European Commission’s Digital Single Market plans which were formally unveiled earlier this week.

Unsurprisingly they have both focused on the opportunity the scheme provides to review the so called safe harbours in European copyright law which enable services like YouTube to operate ‘opt-out’ rather than ‘opt-in’ content platforms.

As previously reported, the music industry is increasingly of the opinion that such an approach is exploiting a loophole, in that the safe-harbours were designed to protect internet service providers and server hosting companies when their customers distribute or store copyright infringing content, not platforms that aggregate infringing material and re-present it through their own portal.

The IFPI, which put the spotlight on this issue when releasing its 2014 figures last month, said yesterday: “The Commission’s DSM Strategy contains key positive elements. It recognises the need to clarify the role of certain online platforms which distribute copyright content while claiming the benefit of safe harbours. This is an important step towards creating a more level playing field between online operators and the creative sectors”.

Meanwhile IMPALA chief Helen Smith said of the DSM proposals: “This addresses a fundamental barrier to licensing in Europe today which holds Europe’s Digital Single Market back and causes an unintended ‘value gap’ for our members. It is crucial to address trading practices which frustrate competition and which are particularly prevalent in the online environment. An open, diverse and competitive digital market is crucial to independents and other players”.

Though, as previously noted, there are sure to be some elements of the DSM plans that are not so welcomed by the music community, and others that split opinion between different strands of the industry.

As reported yesterday, the Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition have already criticised the EC’s rather lacklustre commitment to review performer rights, especially around the so called ‘making available’ element of the sound recording copyright, which many artists and managers think has been skewed to the advantage of copyright owners and to the detriment of performers.