2016 has been a remarkable year for music industry as audio has surpassed video as the leading streaming format for the first time, while downloading continues to decline. Internet service companies have launched their own streaming services one after another to claim a share in this burgeoning market, which makes it imperative we ensure fair compensation for the use of your works.
European commission released the latest Copyright package including a draft copyright directive in the Digital Single Market on 14th September 2016, where article 13, 14, 15 and 16 indicate a willing to address the safe harbour issue and fair remuneration for authors and performers, including transparency obligation and contract adjustment mechanism.
We strongly support the latest proposal for copyright directive released in September from the European Commission for it has indicated its wishes to address the safe harbour issue and fair remuneration for authors. Meanwhile in the UK, the Digital Economy Bill was introduced to the House of Commons in July, moved to the House of Lords at the end of the year, and expected to be adopted in mid-2017. Contained in the Bill is an extension for the maximum online infringement sentence to increase from 2 years to 10 years, something which we campaigned for, and this has been warmly welcomed. Additionally, we and others in the music industry have been campaigning for certain amendments, including introducing backup powers to address the issue of unregulated search engines.
We have also cooperated closely with UK Music and British Copyright Council on post referendum policy directions and priorities including issues like labour migration, cross border trade and investment in creative industries to maintain a stable marketplace and provide seek for reassurance for our European partners. UK Music is a member of the Creative Industries Council Brexit sub-group and ensures our voice is heard directly there.
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.
Central to our campaigning agenda this year is the digital royalty campaign: the Day the Music Died. Through this vehicle, we advocate for a fairer environment for songwriters and composers by addressing the major problem areas threatening the value and security of creators’ rights. BASCA has responded to many European Commission’s consultations over the past few years and most recently on an investigation into the ‘Regulatory Environment for Platforms, Online Intermediaries, Data and Cloud Computing and the Collaborative Economy’. As ever we stressed the absurdity of current Safe Harbour provisions and call for intermediaries to secure licences for use of music – avoiding distortion in the marketplace and abuse by some content service providers.
In our response to the European Commission’s Public Consultation on the Review of the EU Copyright Rules this year, BASCA repeatedly stressed authors’ rights and the importance of protecting copyright laws that give songwriters and composers an opportunity to make a living out of their creative endeavours.
Lastly there was an independent review held on collecting societies’ and their codes of conduct. In this, we stated that we believe PRS for Music upholds very high standards, presents clear information on its various activities online, and has a governance structure that is democratic, fair and transparent though we will hold them to account where necessary.
An exception to copyright for private copying was proposed by the UK government. While welcoming the common sense of having a very narrow private copying exception, BASCA has repeated to government and IPO officials, at every opportunity, that as a matter of European law, the exception cannot proceed without provision for fair compensation – Article 5(2)(b) of the Copyright Directive expressly provides that a private copying exception is only permitted on this condition.
In July the IPO launched their copyright notices service. Intended to make an impact on general understanding of copyright law, it will help small businesses and individuals with basic copyright guidance, allowing anyone to ask the IPO regarding an area of copyright law where there is particular confusion or misunderstanding. For more information on Copyright Notices click here.
BASCA is committed to the inclusion and encouragement of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) music creators within the UK music industry. In 2012, BASCA worked with Diaspora, the music foundation that supports the wealth of musical talent found throughout the UK’s diverse communities. BASCA’s goal through this outreach programme was to build stronger relationships with BAME music creators and represent a broader range of musical genres.
Another topic has drawn our attention this year is a scheme set up by PRS For Music which allows bands who have performed in small venues to send in details and a set list to the collection society and receive a small payment. For some years now, devised with the assistance of a specialist music group, which consisted of jazz, folk and pop/rock/dance writers, there has been in existence a scheme called the Gigs and Clubs scheme, thanks to BASCA the scheme has now been extended to classical members.
Campaigns We Support