28 January 2020CopyrightEdward Pearcey

Artist groups attack UK govt's decision to ignore article 13

Artistic protection groups have expressed dismay over the UK government’s decision not to implement article 13 of the EU Copyright Directive after the UK leaves the EU, fearing the move will erode the rights and earning power of content creators.

Barbara Hayes, deputy chief executive of the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society ( ALCS), which works to ensure writers are fairly compensated for any of their works that are copied, found the move “very concerning”.

"At a time when the UK creative industries are growing to unprecedented levels, we are also seeing a persistent decline in the earnings of professional authors, representing a real-terms decrease of 42% since 2005," said Hayes, writing in an open letter to Baroness Morgan, the UK’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

"Chapter 3 of the directive includes the necessary means to redress this imbalance by placing a fairer value on creativity,” she continued.

The ALCS has called for an “urgent meeting” with Baroness Morgan, to discuss the scrapping of a law that it says would ensure a “well-functioning marketplace for copyright”.

Tom Kiehl, deputy chief executive of UK Musik, a UK umbrella organisation representing musical artists and those working in related fields, called the government’s decision “extremely disappointing”.

Kiehl, writing in an open letter to Chris Skidmore, the UK’s Universities and Science Minister, who made the announcement not to implement several days ago, said the success of the music industry was linked to the directive’s implementation.

“The directive is designed to improve the way creators in the music industry and those that invest in them are financially rewarded,” said Kiehl. “The UK’s world-leading music industry is worth £5.2 billion ($6.7 billion) to the economy, generates export revenues of £2.7 billion, and employs over 190,000 people, but we can only maintain growth if we take advantage of the opportunities provided by the changes in the copyright directive. “

Keihl continued that the UK government should “not lose sight of the fact that it played a key role in developing and agreeing to the many necessary provisions within the directive”, and the government must now make clear how it intends “to take forward its support for the directive’s key proposals”.

In March last year, the European Parliament passed the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, with the intention of modernising copyright law for the digital age.

However, several large media and online companies criticised the directive, which would have made them accountable for not removing user-uploaded copyrighted content.

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