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BASCA Chair makes impassioned plea to the EU

BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt, Matthew Irons, singer, songwriter and guitarist of the Belgian band Puggy, Polish author, composer, performer and conductor Piotr Rubik,, electronic composer Jean-Michel Jarre, singer and producer; Astrid North and Cora Novoa, Spanish electronic and experimental pop music composer and DJ

BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt delivered an address to the EU in Brussels this week on the subject of the growing ‘Value Gap’.

Hunt was helping to re-launch the #MakeInternetFair petition, which includes the signatures of over 15,000 creators from across Europe – alongside representatives from GESAC, CISAC, and PRS.

The EU are currently debating the first major copyright overhaul for over 17 years.

The process aims to create a number of significant new reforms and a radically different copyright framework. A vote will take place later this year.

A delegation of European musicians, songwriters and their representatives met with the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel to press home their case on Tuesday (6th March).

The #MakeInternetFair petition, which asks the EU to change the balance of value between from creators towards online platforms and tech conglomerates such as YouTube and Facebook, also makes demands for so-called ‘safe harbour’ non-liability provisions not to be abused and used as an excuse to knowingly infringe copyrighted works.

Hunt said,

“I hereby sign and launch this petition of over 15 thousand creator signatures in the name of protecting the future of European creativity. 

Not only protecting the future for professional creators but to protect each and every citizen creator and their children’s children, the value of whose creativity is being sucked out of Europe and into the offshore accounts of unaccountable tech giants.

These technology companies claim to be the guardians of freedom of speech, but if you truly believe in freedom of speech then protect creativity;  protect authors, poets, musicians, filmmakers and playwrights who speak a truth that algorithms will never understand.

Because when you take the human out of the process, you can also remove the humanity.

Europe, was built upon an ideology — a social contract to care for all its citizens and the civilization they enjoy.

Putting one’s faith solely in the magic of the market will only substitute one kind of naivety for another.

The market, the consumer and the future needs culture. And culture – from the paintings on the wall of a cave in Almeria to the truth printed by the press- defines European civilization and its identity.

Remember, it wasn’t the printing press that changed the world it was the words printed on it.

A yawning chasm has emerged between the richest 1% and the unlucky 99%. Solving this value gap will go some way to address that imbalance for future generations.

Setting up the internet so that it once again runs on effective competition as opposed to monopoly is the goal the European authorities must achieve.”

Following Hunt’s speech BASCA CEO Vick Bain said, “For 3 years now BASCA has been campaigning publically for the removal of safe harbour provisions for certain online platforms such Facebook and YouTube; these intermediaries benefit from others creativity and knowingly hold infringing copyright works.

“We have the opportunity to sort this out within our reach and this petition, backed up by thousands of BASCA members, should demonstrate to the EU Commission how important an issue for creators this is.”

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