Open Letter to Members of the EU Parliament concerning the Copyright Directive

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Dear Sir or Madam,

as a becoming European collecting society for music we are turning to you with serious concerns about the final version of the EU copyright directive that will shortly be put to the vote at
the European Parliament. Naturally, our first priority are the interests of creators.

The directive aims at making it European law that publishers must be able to directly partake in revenues to which actually only creators are entitled (initially article 12, now article 16). This has been practice in the past until it was finally declared to be illegal by the EuGH and the German BGH after several decisions. These verdicts have really been strenghtening for creators, so it is downright bizarre that this automatic and illegal damaging of creators is now to be legalised in the entire EU.

Debates on the directive are dominated by the dispute on articles 11 and 13 (now articles 15 and 17). Meanwhile it is completely overlooked by the general public that article 16 means an immense cut into the rights of creators that can in no way be outweighed by the (way too few) advantages that the entire directive brings them. Compelling fees that creators have to pay to the publishers frequently amounted to half of their revenues in the past. No article in the entire directive could even begin to compensate this halving of the revenues. It is therefore incorrect to say that the outcome of this trialogue would be a general improvement for creators. It transforms the copyright law from its primary purpose of protecting the rights of creatives into something like a publishing law and thereby harms the copyright tradition that has been used in Europe for centuries.

Unfortunately, we cannot find any adaptation of the copyright law to the internet era in the directive either. Key questions of today’s world (e.g. legal approaches to mash-ups and remixes) have been ignored. Instead, there are other aspects in which the directive intends to adjust the modern internet to a outdated copyright practice. This is obvious in the entrenched front concerning article 17 (former 13). We represent hundreds of music creators, who want a real modern handling of copyright questions. The fact that the existing collecting societies did not want to address these needs was the reason why we managed to find enough creators to establish a European society in the first place. Since we started in 2010, an important topic has been the separation of publishers’ and creators’ interests, as they cannot be put on a level after all.

We oppose to this directive, as it does not only throw the European copyright law back into an unfair past that finally seemed to be overcome after several years of legal clarifications, but also extends a cut into the rights of creators to the entire EU.

We would like you to ask creators among your acquaintances, how article 16 affects publishers’ claims on their revenues. Please support all of the creators who wish for a real modernisation of the copyright law without loosing their revenues: Please oppose to this directive.

The administrative board of the C3S SCE

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