What does Article 13 mean for the music industry?

Written by frtyfve Team

The European Parliament has passed a legislation on digital copyright regulation reforms, but what does this mean for the music industry?

Yesterday, the European Parliament passed a legislation on digital copyright regulation reforms, in the hope that it will create a fairer and more sustainable digital community for the creative industries (film, TV, music etc).

In a blow to the likes of YouTube, European Parliament Members (MEPs) voted to move ahead with the proposed copyright reform, with 438 votes for versus 226 against and 39 abstentions.

The hope is that it will close the “value gap” that currently exists - this is the difference between the value that platforms such as YouTube derive from music that their users upload, and the value that creators receive in remuneration. In simple terms, creators should now receive greater credit and financial compensation for the use of their work. About time too.

Criticisms of Article 13

Whilst legends of the industry such as Sir Paul McCartney, have supported the imposition of this new regulation, those who oppose Article 13 have warned that it could stunt the prolific creativity that the sharing, remixing and adapting online community breeds.

The concern is that the free and open nature of the internet will come under threat if laws require online platforms such as YouTube to filter and monitor all user uploaded content. The bottom line is, many industry figures think this censorship and policing could break the internet (not à la Kim Kardashian).

But what does this actually mean for the music industry specifically?

Article 13, in theory, will increase the liabilities of user-upload communities and platforms like YouTube. With conglomerates held legally accountable for hosting unlicensed creator content, the music industry could be set for a windfall. It is hoped that artists will finally feel the benefit of fair pay via copyright protections.

Whilst it is too soon to determine how Article 13 will actually play out, the 1% of the industry against the legislation fear that it could increase the "barriers to sharing" for new artists. Whilst this is inevitably tied up in music rights, article 13 could restrict the potential of unofficial remixes, as young bedroom musicians will be legally restricted in the use of another artist’s track. It could also mean that influencers and vloggers will face limitations in sharing their favourite songs in their videos. These are two important pillars of the online video sharing world which have encouraged the breakthrough of new artists and creators.

Despite much of the pro-Article 13 camp hailing the chance to restrict the monopoly of huge tech firms, the legislation could also end up making it a lot more difficult for non-conglomerates to compete with the Google's of the world, who have the capital to fund ContentID and copyright systems.

Article 13 marks the start of fair pay to play for music hosted online, but will "meme culture" and bedroom artists pay the price?

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