On Thursday, 25th May, at a conference ‘Four Years of the Copyright Directive’ AEPO-ARTIS gathered a broad range of stakeholders representing performers, producers, platforms and broadcasters as well as policymakers to discuss the current implications of the Copyright Directive on the lives and businesses of various players in the music and audiovisual sectors, as well as what can still be expected in the coming years.
Though it has been over four years since the EU Council and Parliament adopted Directive 2019/790 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market, not all Member States have completed its transposition yet. Nonetheless, there is enough to look back at.
The conference witnessed a diverse gathering of stakeholders, including representatives from the music and audiovisual industry, policy makers and experts from various fields and served as a platform for a comprehensive dialogue, highlighting the potential effects of the Copyright Directive and exploring the opportunities and challenges it still presents for performers, authors and the cultural landscape as a whole. With engaging panel discussions, insightful presentations and lively Q&A sessions at the end of each panel, the event successfully shed light on the intricacies of the Directive and fostered meaningful conversations on its diverse transpositions.
MEP Axel Voss welcomed the participants with a video-message in which he looked back at the time where he as rapporteur for Parliament took part in the negotiations and stated that: ‘The protection of copyright is an ongoing duty and I wish we all keep fighting for our intellectual property’.
‘We are very happy that we’ve been able to gather representatives from not only our performers’ organisations, but also from the authors, the producers, streaming platforms, broadcasters, representatives of national governments, the European Commission and of course the European Parliament.’ said Ioan Kaes, General-Secretary of AEPO-ARTIS, Association of European Performers’ Organisation, who organised the event, adding that ‘It felt like bringing the Copyright Directive back to Brussels.’
Together with Marco Giorello, Head of the Copyright Unit at DG CNECT and Benjamin Feyen, Secretary General of the CCFG of the European Parliament, he discussed how the overall process of the Copyright Directive adoption and implementation went and what could be expected in the future, especially with the additional layer of complexity that comes with the fast development of technology, including the development of AI. And while general conclusion was that the true effects of the Directive are yet to be seen as the Member States only recently transposed it, it was acknowledged that the transposition came with a delay, resulting in infringement procedures against some of the Member States.
‘I think it is highly problematic.’ stated Benjamin Feyen, Secretary General of the Cultural Creators Friendship Group (CCFG) of the European Parliament addressing the two-year delay in implementation, ‘because this legislation brings a lot of rights to performers and authors, rights which should have been implemented but are not yet. So, for the last two years performers should have had remunerations that they didn’t have.’
The conference continued with a panel discussion on the music sector and the impact of CDSM on the European music streaming market that brought together influential voices from the industry.
Graham Davies, CEO of the Ivors Academy spoke about the situation of the performers in the UK while, when explaining the Belgian model of the transposition and inclusion of the ER right, Christophe Van Vaerenbergh, Managing Director of PlayRight stated that ‘The artists are in a much weaker economical position than the parties they are dealing with and literal transposition would not benefit these artists. It would not enhance or strengthen their position towards these different parties.’
The panelists engaged in lively debates on how the Directive affects the performers in the digital environment and, while they had different views on the topic, the common takeaway was that the dialogue between the stakeholders must continue.
‘It’s important to look at all actors within this market, and not just the relations between artists and platforms or artists and producers, to take into account the various partners and stakeholders that are part of this value chain.’ said Olivia Regnier, the Chair of Digital Music Europe. ‘Streaming services have a lot to bring in terms of enabling the market to grow, ensuring cultural diversity and providing tools to help artists grow their career. A number of things need to be solved through discussions, and in some cases, negotiations or practical solutions.’
‘I think putting all of us in the same room is very useful so that we can actually exchange, provide nuances and share further information’ she concluded.
Lodovico Benvenuti, Managing Director of IFPI Europe, presented the views of the record producers and found the conference to be ‘like a reunion of Copyright Directive veterans’, adding ‘It is very important to keep this discussion ongoing between all the actors of the creative value chain, whether this is platforms, performers, authors, producers, as we are. It’s very important because at the end of the day, we are on the same side of the fence. We want more resources, more remuneration for the creative community.’
The impact of the CDSM on the EU audiovisual streaming market was discussed in the following panel with experts Cécile Despringre (SAA), Gregor Štibernik (AIPA), Carolina Lorenzon (ACT) and Darya Gantura (Belgian Actress)exchanging their views. Although the Copyright Directive provides the same rules for the audiovisual as for the music sector, this panel focused on the difference in the practical effects. While Carolina Lorezon from the ACT focused on the challenges broadcasters face in keeping up the value of their content, Darya Gantura shared that for actors, so far, nothing has changed. The same contracts are still imposed and an increase in transparency is still missing. She looks forward to the moment when her CMO can put law into practice and provide her with a remuneration for streaming. But at the same time she said that she too would have to have the necessary patience for this, since several parties have challenged this new right to remuneration.
In a forward-looking session, the conference closed with a panel discussing the future presidency of the EU Council and its potential influence on copyright policies. Panelists Paul Laurent, Advisor for the Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Pál Tomori, Director of Hungarian CMO EJI, outlined their vision for the upcoming presidencies and their roles in advancing the effective implementation of the Copyright Directive across Member States.
Attendees expressed their enthusiasm for the conference and its impact on the industry. The conference concluded with a call to action, urging policymakers, industry representatives and artists to collaborate closely to ensure the successful implementation of the Copyright Directive across Europe.
The dialogue must go on as the Copyright Directive impacts all stakeholders and the conference was a great step towards collaborative work. Glad to see constructive discussions among the variety of stakeholders, Ioan Kaes, General-Secretary of AEPO-ARTIS said: ‘Today has proven that the debates are not closed yet. The discussions will need to continue and not only at a national level but also here in Brussels.’
Have a look how it was at the event: