On September, 12th 2018 the European Parliament voted (by 438 votes to 226) to pass the Article 13 section of the proposed new European Copyright Directive. The wording of the legislation seemed to back the position taken by the music industry over the liability of platforms like YouTube for copyright-infringing uploads. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council produced three Article 13 texts: the three bodies have since been meeting in a ‘trilogue’ to hammer out the final text of the directive.
But YouTube clearly didn’t agree that the matter was done and dusted. Its lobbying efforts have intensified since the Parliament’s vote, with senior executives publicly voicing their opposition, and enlisting the YouTube creator community to protest against Article 13 in its existing version. And, apparently, YouTube's efforts have been quite successful. Indeed, a letter signed by creative-industry bodies including IFPI, Impala, ICMP and IMPF from the music world stated:
With the final trilogue only days away, European creatives and rightsholders urgently inform EU policymakers that the 13 January draft text of the proposed Copyright Directive does not meet the original objective of Article 13 and urgently requires significant changes.
Their criticism is aimed at a draft published by the Romanian presidency (of the European Council), whose changes include new exemptions for internet platforms from liability, including if they have “made best efforts” to obtain a licence. The Romanian proposal was a ‘non-paper’ produced as part of the trilogue process: it’s not guaranteed to be reflected in the ultimate legislation. But the letter does show that music rightsholders are genuinely worried that what seemed like a major victory for their ‘value gap’ campaign last September could become a crushing disappointment in 2019.
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