AEPO-ARTIS Seminar “EU Copyright Acquis: 25 years of harmonisation. What is working for performers and what is not? ” – Press Release

The AEPO-ARTIS seminar, amongst other issues, took stock of the European Commission’s proposal For a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which is now being discussed in trilogue between the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

In this regard, the fair remuneration of performers from on-demand services (iTunes, Netflix, Spotify, …) was at the heart of the discussion.

Supported by the findings of the 2018 AEPO-ARTIS study drawing upon data from 26 countries, available on the AEPO-ARTIS website, the economic situation of performers has barely changed after the introduction of the exclusive making available right in the 2001 Copyright Directive. The right is generally transferred in buy-out contracts to producers, with only few famous performers managing to negotiate the payment of royalties.

For most performers, however, this right has not been effective in practice despite the exponential growth of on demand streaming and download services, such as Spotify, iTunes and Netflix, in popularity, revenue and value. Performers are missing out of their fair share in this value uplift.

This is reflected in the findings of the AEPO-ARTIS study where it can be seen that in 2005, collections in respect of on demand services were effectively zero and by 2017, the amount collected by collective management organisations still only amounted to less than 2% of total collections. The EU law designed to protect and adequately reward performers has therefore failed.

Xavier Blanc, Secretary General of AEPO-ARTIS, partner of the FAIR INTERNET campaign, which represents over 500,000 performers across Europe, said: “It is unacceptable that still today the majority of performers receive no remuneration from downloading /streaming services such as iTunes, Spotify, Netflix, … EU legislators must free performers from the trap of their contracts “.

AEPO-ARTIS is pleased that the concern of over 500.000 performers in Europe has finally been heard by the European Parliament which introduced a new article -14 to the draft Copyright Directive.

This article asserts the principle that all performers should be paid a fair and proportional remuneration for all modes of exploitation, including for on-demand uses, and sends a clear signal against persistent and unacceptable buy-out practices.

While the European Parliament, unfortunately, falls short of granting performers an unwaivable right to receive remuneration directly from service providers making their performances available on demand, it nevertheless encourages Member States to achieve this aim by way of statutory remuneration mechanisms.

“We are grateful to the members of the European Parliament who are trying to make a real difference to performers in Europe and create a fair and stable creative industry for those at the heart of the value chain” concluded Tilo Gerlach, President of AEPO-ARTIS. “Article -14 is a first step in the right direction towards more equitable remuneration of performers that will be secured from on demand services through collective management which will hopefully be endorsed in the coming weeks during the trilogue negotiations”.

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