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Business News (more headlines) 04-17-2017

CIAM Leads International Coalition Of Music Creators Calling On European Parliament To Address Transfer Of Value

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In a letter addressed to European Parliament MEPs on 6 April, global songwriter and composer groups representing the interests of over 500,000 music creators from North America, South America, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Europe requested a "meaningful and innovative solution" to the issue of transfer of value in the digital marketplace.

The letter brings together regional bodies representing creators under the global umbrella of the International Council of Music Creators (CIAM). It was signed by Music Creators North America (MCNA), the Alliance of Latin American Creators of Music (ALCAM), the Pan-African Composer and Songwriters Alliance (PACSA), Asia-Pacific Music Alliance (APMA), the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) and CIAM.

CIAM President Lorenzo Ferrero says the united voice from creators internationally is unprecedented. "This is a hugely important moment in the discussion over the Transfer of Value, not just in Europe but globally. The European Parliament is in a position to make a real difference in the lives of creators globally. So it is gratifying that, for the first time ever, music creators internationally have come together to sing a united global song".

The letter supports the Commission's proposal to fix the Transfer of Value, "by clarifying that user-uploaded content platforms which store and provide access to copyright protected works are subject to copyright liability, and therefore must obtain licences from authors for the use of their work. The provisions suggested by the European Commission clarify if these platforms actively distribute and communicate copyright protected works to the public, then they must obtain the necessary licenses from authors.

The letter however voices concern about amendments to the proposals which would limit the transparency obligations for producers and publishers. It says: "For instance, the amendment suggestion to limit the transparency obligation to these contractual relationships ‘where there are ongoing payment obligations' would incite producers and publishers to force creators into buy out contracts and lump sum payments in order to avoid falling under these transparency obligations."

It also calls for the introduction of a rights reversion mechanism, "which would allow authors to terminate a contract in case of non-transparency and in case of insufficient and lack of exploitation of the rights assigned to the publisher or producer. The rights reversion mechanism would serve as a compliance mechanism for the transparency obligation set forth in article 14. Kindly note that US Copyright Law provides authors with a termination right 35 years after the contract signature. Why should EU authors be deprived from such a right?"

Finally, the letter urges MEPs to block any suggested amendments for UGC exceptions as advocated by technology companies and internet firms. "Since the suggested wording is so broad and lacks a corresponding definition, any user - including those representing political parties or extreme religious views - can take extracts out of copyright protected works and transform them into a totally different context and purpose."

The letter comes to the European Parliament as the three responsible committees debate amendments to the EU Copyright Package adopted last September. The plenary session of the European Parliament is expected to vote on amendments later in the summer.

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