BASCA campaigns for the rights of composers and songwriters.
Public affairs, lobbying and campaigning are central to the BASCA cause and inform every decision we make.
We work consistently hard to make sure the concerns of our members get to the right people: in the press (both national and trade publications), in the UK government and in Europe where we spend time and effort fostering and nurturing relationships with key EU decision makers.
With the support of its membership, BASCA campaigns on the issues that affect all songwriters and composers. This can include a broad range of subjects: from legislation to safeguarding of revenue streams; from protection of collective management to action against piracy; from fairness of contracts to fighting coercive commissioning; from specific hands-on issues to broader matters of principle.
Regularly we talk to UK and EU politicians, civil servants and government agencies to create a better environment in which music writers can flourish. On many issues where we are campaigning to UK government our voice becomes stronger when combined with that of the rest of the music industry.
Currently, our work can be divided into 6 major campaigns, here is an update for each.
DIGITAL ROYALTIESAfter it’s launch early 2015, BASCA’s Digital Royalties campaign ‘The Day The Music Died’ has entered a new phrase of international influence and co-operation. Inspired directly by our campaign, German composers (DKV), lyricists (DTV) and music publishers (DMV) aligned to launch their own campaign in July 2015. Their focus is on ‘drawing attention to inadequate mini-licences from streaming services, demanding a greater share in the (relatively) booming revenues of internet music services. We also received messages of support from many other European and North American composer organisations who all say our lead has influenced their own work in this area. We are aligned closely with the Music Creators of the World (MCNA) and their exciting Fair Trade Music services displaying a seal of approval. BASCA will play a vital role in assisting and promoting wherever we can, and we encourage all BASCA members to sign up to their mailing list to remain fully informed as to their progress.
SONGWRITER CREDITSLeading on the front cover of Music Week, BASCA recently highlighted the exclusion of songwriter credits on digital services and are have formed a working group with representatives from Sony ATV, Spotify and PRS for Music. The first meeting in September 2015 went well and we are positive that our campaign will progress. Being able to search streaming services by writer is something that BASCA members would greatly benefit from – also raising awareness of an acting as promotion for writers. Spotify told BASCA they would love to add this feature to make for a richer user experience but they currently do not receive writer information from publishers or collecting societies.
BBCThe BBC is hugely important – especially for composers and songwriters. It’s the biggest single commissioner of contemporary classical music, and remains the single largest royalty income source for many BASCA members. With the charter renewal process underway, we submitted organisational responses to consultations by the BBC Trust, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the House of Lords, and continue our campaigning to focus on protecting the BBC and its music services from cuts. In the meantime, we hope you will sign this petition and join us in supporting the UK Music #letitbeeb campaign, led by BASCA Fellow Sir Paul McCartney which has gathered more than 10K signatures.
DIVERSITYUnfortunately, the music industry is not as equal or diverse as one would imagine. As demonstrated by PRS for Music statistics demonstrated back in 2011, only 14 per cent of their entire writer membership was female. It has also been reflected in BASCA membership over the years. In light of these figures, equality and diversity are a priority for BASCA. BASCA participates in a number of collaborations including with UK Black, Asian & Minority (BAME), UK Music regarding its pilot research study, and Managing IP’s Women in IP. BASCA was proud to be a signatory of the British music Industry’s Equality & Diversity Charter and champions a number of gender equality campaigns, running regular events that celebrate the works of female composers. So it was with great pleasure that the 2015 elections brought forward our highest percentage of female committee members and welcomed Jenni Roditi, Helienne Lindvall and Issie Barratt to the BASCA Board. We are certain that our work in this area will continue to inspire the next generation and are proud to be playing such an important part in this conversation.
EU COPYRIGHTEU Copyright reform is high on the agenda of the current Commission, with a proposal for new legislation expected to be published by the end of 2015. In spring 2015, BASCA fed evidence into the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee in view of its report reviewing European Copyright. Shortly after this, the European Commission published their Digital Single Market Strategy which outlines the areas for reform. The Commission’s priority is to ensure a more integrated online market across the 28 Member States. It is our concern that the key politicians who will ultimately influence the outcome of the reform have a thwarted perception of the creative industries in general, and more specifically of the music industry. But the creative industries have been fighting their corner: ECSA and GESAC commissioned research showing that EU creative industries have a €540 billion (approx. £391 billion) annual turnover, making culture the third most important employment sector in the EU. BASCA is joining the fight and feeding into various Position Papers by the British Copyright Council and UK Music to highlight concerns over the threat of meddling with copyright and existing licensing practices. Through these efforts, we are stressing the absurdity of current Safe Harbour provisions (see BASCA’s Digital Royalties campaign) and is calling for intermediaries to secure licences for use of music – thus avoiding distortion in the marketplace and abuse by some content service providers. The good news is that the Commission indicated that it wishes to address this issue in more detail.
PRIVATE COPYINGThis year saw a big victory for the UK Music industry after BASCA, the Musician’s Union and UK Music won an important copyright Judicial Review in the High Court. Through this procedure, we challenged the Government’s decision to introduce a private copying exception into UK copyright law without providing fair compensation to rights to rights holders (as required by EU law). Challenging this legislation was a difficult decision since a private copying exception is a valued tool for consumers, however it is primordial that any exception to copyright protection accounts for the rights of songwriters, composers and authors and provides fair compensation for the additional usage. The exception Government wrote did not provide a mechanism to compensate rights holders for this additional use, and that is what BASCA, the Musician’s Union and UK Music contested. In the High Court, the Judge found that the evidence which informed Government’s decision was wholly inadequate – and that the exception was therefore unlawful. Whilst the Government is in the process of reconsidering its position, we remain open to working together on creating a lawful exception.