July 4th, 2018
Content Creators Coalition & MusicAnswers Urge European Union to Approve Article 13 Copyright Reforms
[Washington, D.C.] — The Content Creators Coalition (c3) and MusicAnswers applaud the European Union for its consideration of Article 13 copyright reforms and hope they move forward swiftly. As Sir Paul McCartney has said, these reforms are vital to “assure a sustainable future for the music ecosystem.”
As groups representing thousands of songwriters, composers, performers, musicians, vocalists, and producers primarily residing in the United States, c3 and MusicAnswers havebeen dismayed — but not surprised — by the dishonest and alarmist disinformation campaign led and fueled by the spending of one large American company, Google. The tactics employed by those opposed to Article 13 are familiar to us from United States debates over internet regulation: false apocalyptic claims that any reform will implode the internet, coupled with bizarre assertions that regulation will outlaw internet elements, like memes, its users hold dear. A few years ago, the same corporations argued that reforms being considered by the US Congress would land Justin Bieber in jail for his early cover videos.
Google drums up this phony hysteria to stifle debate and confuse the public, in this case about the limited impact of the EU’s proposed regulation. Article 13 would simply ensure that, like every brick and mortar business, Google and other online platforms would take basic responsibility to make every reasonable effort to keep their premises safe and secure. Current law incentivizes these companies to turn a blind eye to law breaking by other networks, while they profit from the ad revenues it generates.
Google would have the EU believe that the internet is working well, as is. From the American perspective, this could not be farther from the truth. While the World Wide Web is a marvel that has improved our lives in many ways, it is falling far short of its promise and aspirations. From online harassment and abuse to devastating attacks on US and EU elections to unchecked illegal drug sales and terrorist recruiting, the internet’s dark underbelly is a growing threat we ignore at our own peril. The unchecked exploitation of unlicensed music has already destroyed much of the economy of America’s working musicians and laid waste to the songwriters’ middle class — in Nashville, alone, 80% of songwriters have left the business in the last two decades. With that in mind, we believe that the EU is wise to act before this calamity lands on its shores.
Article 13 will not break the internet. To the extent that it is already broken, and to the degree that its problems are likely to become more severe, Google and other large internet companies are largely to blame. Only through wise regulation tethered to traditional principles of business and civic responsibility can it be fixed.
Policymakers in the United States have begun to reckon with these issues and the necessary steps to correct them. Article 13 is one important step on that road, and we urge the EU to lead the way toward a more free and accountable internet.
The Content Creators Coalition (c3) is an artist-run non-profit advocacy group representing creators in the digital landscape. C3’s work is significant to anyone who creates and makes a living from their creations. c3’s objectives are two-fold: First, economic justice for musicians and music creators in the digital domain. Second, ensuring that the current and future generations of creators retain the rights needed to create and benefit from the use of their work and efforts. C3 has grown into a national organization based on representation, advocacy, and mobilization for sustainable careers in the digital age.
MusicAnswers unites songwriters, composers, performers, and producers in a grassroots campaign to inform, organize, and protect the music community about our rights and revenue streams. It is grounded in the firm belief that, regardless of our roles in creating music, our common interests are far greater than those that divide us. Since its launch in January 2016, nearly 3500 music creators and professionals have signed the MusicAnswers Declaration of Principles, which is posted at musicanswers.org.
c3: Ted Kalo, 202–785–2100
MusicAnswers: Phil Galdston, 212–662–6587