BASCA campaigns for the rights of composers and songwriters.
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.
Our work can be divided into several major on-going campaigns, here is an update for each.
EU Copyright Directive
EU Copyright reform is high on the agenda of the current Commission. 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.
BASCA joined the fight and fed 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 stressed the absurdity of current Safe Harbour provisions and called for intermediaries to secure licences for use of music – thus avoiding distortion in the marketplace and abuse by some content service providers.
On 12th September 2018 the European Parliament voted to support the Copyright Directive, with a landslide victory of 438 votes in favour, 226 against and 39 abstentions. BASCA was instrumental in making this happen. We have campaigned to bring about a fair copyright environment that stops big tech hiding behind ‘safe harbours’ to avoid taking out a licence and ensure that creators get more transparent and equitable payments.
Ahead of the vote, BASCA and the UK music industry launched major campaign ‘#LoveMusic’ to help fight for the best possible future for everyone who works in the industry and who relies on music to make a living.
BASCA had a formal position of wishing to remain in the EU however we accept the result of the referendum and are working to ensure that post Brexit songwriters and composers will not be disadvantaged in anyway. To ensure our voice is heard in this process we are part of the UK Music Brexit committee and are working with MPs of all parties. We have also joined the cross cultural industry campaign FreeMoveCreate campaign. We are also participating in discussions regarding government’s Industrial Strategy.
What are we asking for? We need to ensure there is freedom of movement for our members who may wish to tour, record in or teach in the EU. We need to ensure the copyright regime we enjoy as part of the EU remains in place and is not dismantled. And we need to take advantage of any further international opportunities that Brexit may deliver.
Under American copyright law, authors have a statutory right to terminate copyright-related contracts. But this termination right is an anomaly very specific to US copyright law and there are no equivalent ‘recapturing’ rights in the EU or the UK. The important bits are Sections 203, 304(c) and 304(d) of the US Copyright Act. These state that authors are afforded a five-year window within which they can terminate their contracts for perpetual or ‘life of copyright’ grants.
The termination provisions give authors the opportunity to ‘recapture’ the rights to their copyright in the United States under a very strict series of conditions and administrative process.
Leading 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.
BASCA supported PRS For Music, ASCAP and SACEM on a new shared system of managing music copyright information using Blockchain technology, which in turn will resolve conflicts between linking identifiers for the same work across multiple rightsholders. See here
More on Creditation on Moral Rights see here
Unfortunately, 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% 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.
2015 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. Read more
The 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. Read more
Other campaigns we have done in the past include Collective Rights Management Directive
Campaigns We Support