MEPs voted on the Copyright Directive in Strasbourg today and failed by a small majority (318 votes to 278, with 31 abstentions) to authorise the process whereby the European Union Council, Commission and Parliament negotiate a final text for passage into law.
Under the new Directive of Copyright which contained the key element Article 13, it would have required online content platforms like YouTube and Facebook to use filtering systems that block content — such as images and videos — that infringes the rights-holder’s copyright.
Crispin Hunt, BASCA Chair said: “While we are disappointed that the campaign of misinformation has undermined the vote on Article 13, we can be emboldened by the strength of voice and argument coming from across the creative community. Thousands of songwriters, authors and composers, large and small are standing united to fight for fair compensation for the use of their copyright on the internet. This issue will not go away and the fight will continue. We call on all music creators to join us as we campaign ahead of the next debate in September.”
Michael Dugher UK Music CEO said: “This is a sad day for everyone involved in the creativity that is behind Britain’s world-leading music. It is desperately disappointing that a small majority of MEPs have backed Google’s shabby multi-million euro campaign of fake news and misinformation against creators. Frankly, in some cases MEPs were naive. In others cases, they have chosen to wilfully disregard the plight of creators. These proposals would make a real difference to our creators, to those that invest in them and to all of us who value our culture. Google’s YouTube is the world’s most popular music platform, yet it deliberately chooses to return a pittance to those whose creativity it has built its multi-billion pound business model on. Google remain the vultures that feed off music creators. The fact remains that this must end. We sincerely thank the 278 MEPs who backed reform and look forward to engaging positively with all MEPs on the opportunities to develop the Directive further. We may have lost this particular round, but the fight to ensure fairness for music creators goes on.”
Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive, PRS for Music, said: “It is perhaps unsurprising considering the unprecedented level of lobbying and the comprehensive campaign of misinformation which has accompanied this vote that MEPs want more time to consider the proposals. The vote showed that many MEPs across the various European political parties understand the importance of fixing the transfer of value and of a well-functioning market for copyright. We appreciate their support and hope that as we move forward to the Plenary debate in September, more MEPs will recognise the unique opportunity to secure the EU’s creative industries. From the outset our primary focus of this legislation has been concerned with whether or not the internet functions as a fair and efficient marketplace – and currently, for artists and authors, it doesn’t. They want their creative works to be heard, they embrace technology, but they want to be paid fairly. We will continue to fight for what we believe is their freedom and a fair use of their creative works.”
We are pleased to announce the results of our 2018 Board and Committee elections!
Over the past few weeks, Professional and Standard members have been voting for BASCA members to represent them on the BASCA Board, and our Classical, Songwriter and Jazz Committees. The Media Committee was uncontested therefore there was no voting. Voting was administered by Electoral Reform Services and closed on Wednesday 20th June.
Elected genre committee members work together as advisory groups, on behalf of BASCA’s members, discussing specific issues relating to each genre. Over the coming weeks, the new Committees will meet for the first time to elect their committee Chairs and nominate one other board representative each. These 8 individuals will then join the 6 Directly Elected Directors (revealed below). The newly formed Board will then elect the Chair of the Board. The Board then appoints 2 independent directors (non-BASCA members), to create the 16-seat BASCA Board.
BASCA would like to thank all of the members who took part in the elections.
These 6 individuals will join 2 media committee members, 2 songwriter committee members, 2 classical committee members and 2 jazz committee members on the Board. When the Board meet, they will elect 2 independent directors, to create the 16-seat BASCA Board.
BASCA, in association with PRS for Music, announce the winners of the 63rd Ivor Novello Awards.
PRS FOR MUSIC MOST PERFORMED WORK
Compiled and title sponsored by The Ivors, sponsor this award credits the song that received the most broadcast, online and general performance in the UK during 2017.
Shape of You
Written by Steve Mac, Johnny McDaid and Ed Sheeran
Published in the UK by Rokstone Music – Universal Music Publishing, Spirit B-Unique – Polar Patrol and Ed Sheeran Limited – Sony/ATV Music Publishing (UK) Ltd
BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE
Recognising outstanding original composition for a feature film, this year’s judges described the winning score as an uncompromising, brave and definitive part of an extraordinary film.
Composed by Mica Levi
Published in the UK by Beggars Music
Presented to Billy Ocean, in recognition of the excellence, and international success, of this song catalogue.
BEST CONTEMPORARY SONG
This award recognises outstanding originality in songwriting and this year’s judges felt the winning song captures the personal and political landscape and in particular they praised the truth and execution of the lyrics.
Written by Dave and Fraser T Smith
Published in the UK by Warner/Chappell Music Ltd and Kobalt Music Publishing
THE IVORS CLASSICAL MUSIC AWARD
Presented to Thea Musgrave, in recognition of an outstanding body of work in the classical genre.
BEST ORIGINAL VIDEO GAME SCORE
Recognising outstanding composition for a video game, this year’s judges felt that the winning score had an impressive scope, depth and attention to detail whilst retaining sensitivity to the emotional content.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Composed by Joris de Man, Joe Henson and Alexis Smith
BEST SONG MUSICALLY AND LYRICALLY
Recognising excellence in songwriting craft, this year’s judges said that the winning song succeeded structurally, musically and with heartfelt, beautiful imagery.
Magnificent (She Says)
Written by Guy Garvey, Craig Potter, Mark Potter and Pete Turner
Published in the UK by Salvation Music Ltd – Warner/Chappell Music Publishing Ltd
PRS FOR MUSIC OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO BRITISH MUSIC
Presented to Billy Bragg, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to British Music.
BEST TELEVISION SOUNDTRACK
Recognising outstanding, original composition for a television programme, the judges said the winning work was exquisitely composed with exceptional attention to detail.
Composed by Dan Jones
Published in the UK by Faber Music and Sony/ATV Music Publishing (UK) Ltd
This award recognises exceptional songwriting and consistency across an album as a whole. The judges described the winning album as an astonishing open hearted body of work that fully captures the spirit of 2017.
Gang Signs & Prayer
Written by Michael ‘Stormzy’ Omari
Published in the UK by Warner/Chappell Music Ltd
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR
Presented to a British or Irish songwriter who has released an exceptional body of work during the award year, the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year 2017 was presented to Ed Sheeran.
THE IVORS INSPIRATION AWARD
Presented to Shane MacGowan in recognition of the power of his songwriting to inspire the creative talents of others.
OUTSTANDING SONG COLLECTION
Presented to songwriter Cathy Dennis in recognition of her outstanding body of work.
PRS FOR MUSIC SPECIAL INTERNATIONAL AWARD
The only Ivor Novello Award independently presented to an international writer, the PRS for Music Special
International Award recognises a songwriter whose work has left an indelible mark on British music. It was presented to Lionel Richie.
End Pay To Play Now – A statement from BASCA and its Media Committee
Composers own the works they create: this is the essence of copyright. The copyright legal framework gives songwriters and composers economic and moral rights of ownership over their musical works and allows them to earn their living. This copyright in their music, manifested in the ‘performing right’ and the ‘mechanical right’, remains the intellectual property of the composer until such time as they assign it to a publisher or other entity.
Fortunately in the UK and the EU composers have 50% of their performing right protected as it is subject to an ‘exclusive assignment’ to PRS for Music (or other Performing Right Society) that protects writers from anyone else taking or bargaining over this portion. Unfortunately this means the other 50%, sometimes assigned to an existing publisher but sometimes not, is considered up for grabs. It is becoming an increasingly common practice, and in our view bad practice, for commissioners of TV programs, including production companies, to insist that they take ‘all of the publishing’.
BASCA strongly disapproves of this forced 50% performance royalty assignment (and frequently 100% mechanical royalties too) as a condition of a composer accepting a job, but we have evidence there is now an increasingly common practice of asking TV composers to work with no upfront commissioning fee either.
We think it worth making clear that when they take publishing rights, any production company is already getting original music written, produced and delivered effectively free of charge, in that any commissioning fee paid to the composer will eventually be recouped by the appropriation of their performing and mechanical royalties; in effect, any fee is merely an advance. To expect a writer not only to part with a great portion of their potential royalty earnings but in addition supply bespoke, finished music for no fee places undue pressure on the working composer.
This commissioning policy puts the composer in the invidious position of working for nothing and receiving no back end compensation if the production happens not to be successful. Any working composer will inevitably have costs to cover, not only for their own time, but also for studios, session musicians, equipment, mixing, production and so on. Effectively one is creating a ‘pay-to-play’ scenario for such a ‘composer-investor’, one that could well lead to such practitioners getting into financial difficulties. It is unsustainable.
Any production company pursuing such practices is guilty of abuse of contractual negotiating power and is representative of inequality in the bargaining relationship between individual composers and more powerful production companies. We call for an immediate end to such practices.
Vick Bain CEO BASCA and The Media Committee of BASCA
Entries are now open for the 2018 British Composer Awards.
Anyone, including the composer, can enter eligible works, and entries across all twelve award categories are judged anonymously.
Works that received a UK première performance, either live or broadcast, between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 are eligible across the following categories:
Amateur or Young Performers
Community or Educational Project
Jazz Composition for Small Ensemble
Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble
Solo or Duo
Wind Band or Brass Band
Entries are made via our Entry Site, where you can also find our full Rules and Guidelines and Eligibility Criteria.
Visit https://basca.secure-platform.com to enter works. The closing date for entries is Monday 9 July 2018.
The British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PRS for Music. The event is in association with BBC Radio 3 providing exclusive broadcast coverage.
The British Composer Awards will take place on Tuesday 4 December in the BP Lecture Theatre and East Foyer of the British Museum, London.
The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (BASCA) has unveiled a new campaign #soldforasong
BASCA applauds the recent commitments by major labels to share in any financial benefits from Spotify’s forthcoming direct listing with their artists and associated indie labels, and calls for similar commitments from music publishers that any such benefits, direct or indirect, received by them from the pending Spotify direct listing or Facebook licence advances will be shared transparently and fairly with the writers they represent.
A decade after its launch Facebook has recently concluded licensing agreements with the major music publishing companies and BASCA understand that those deals involve lump sum advance payments worth many millions of pounds.
There are concerns however that no pledge has been made by music publishers to equitably share any financial benefit derived from such licenses with songwriters and composers.
BASCA welcomes the news that going forward Facebook is seeking to put in place music recognition technologies to ensure that future usage data is correctly reported to ensure songwriters and composers will be accurately remunerated.
An ongoing issue, however, is that Facebook currently has no systems in place to identify the music used on their platform retrospectively. BASCA is therefore seeking assurances from those music publishers that have concluded deals with Facebook that any so-called ‘unattributable’ income derived from these deals is distributed equitably and transparently with songwriters and composers.
In addition, they are demanding that sufficient efforts are made to establish correct usage and not just to distribute monies via an ‘assumed’ market share analogy.
BASCA also calls for any financial windfall received by the music publishing community from Spotify’s upcoming direct listing on the New York Stock exchange, which commentators suggest might value the company in excess of $19bn, to be shared honourably, fairly and transparently with those that composed the catalogues being exploited.
Crispin Hunt, BASCA Chair says: “The so-called ‘evergreen’ catalogue is arguably only so verdant because it has been historically over-watered in lieu of correct data. With the potential of today’s technology for granular digital data such anachronistic inaccuracy is no longer excusable in music – the right music must receive the right monies. If it’s played it should be paid.”
Vick Bain, CEO of BASCA said, “Facebook and other user generated content platforms, as well as digital services such as Spotify have benefited incalculably from exploiting our members work and indeed this has allowed them to become among the world’s wealthiest corporations. They, and the publishers who license music to them, have an obligation and a duty to safeguard the future sustainability of our industry and to ensure that songwriters and composers are given their fair due of these potential riches.”
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.
“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.”
The Music Modernisation Act is a proposed new piece of legislation in the US that aims to reform copyright law. The two Congressmen behind it – Doug Collins and Hakeem Jeffries – say that their proposals, if passed, would “bring music licensing its first meaningful update in almost 20 years”.
Unlike most other countries, In the US there is no collecting society offering a blanket licence covering the ‘mechanical rights’ in songs, which are exploited whenever a song is copied. This means users of music must identify the owners of every song they copy, and make sure those owners receive the licensing paperwork and fixed royalty rate set out in American copyright law.
For streaming platforms such as Spotify, who exploit both the performing right and mechanical right elements of the song copyright, this has proven to be very problematic. They distribute performing right royalties to collecting societies like BMI and ASCAP, but in order to pay the mechanicals, the platforms must do that themselves. With no central database documenting music rights ownership, that’s proven to be a very difficult.
This all means that many copyright owners haven’t received the royalties that they are due which constitutes copyright infringement on the part of the streaming platforms. Spotify are currently being sued by publishing company Wixen for $1.6 billion.
This new act would create a blanket mechanical licensing system that would replace the current decentralised system. Administered by a new ‘super-PRO,’ all artist and publishers would register their tracks; and platforms like Spotify, that want to use the music, would licence it there.
It would be easy to believe that support for the new act is universal but this is not the case. BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt says: “BASCA potentially approves of the MMA as it should benefit British and EU Writers significantly but feels there are a number of details that need to be clarified before we can give our full support. The following video highlights a number of these concerns. BASCA is meeting with UK Publishers to discuss mutually beneficial resolutions to our issues with the MMA in coming weeks”.
Nitin Sawhney and Mira Calix join BASCA representatives at the Bulgarian Embassy
BASCA delivers letter to the Bulgarian Ambassador to ask for support in the protection of copyright.
On January 1, 2018, a decade after its accession to the EU, Bulgaria took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU For six months. Bulgaria is now the main driving force for the tasks on the agenda of the Union, performing the functions of an objective mediator and political leader. Yesterday (13/02/18) BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt, BASCA CEO Vick Bain and members Nitin Sawhney and Mira Calix visited the Bulgarian Embassy in West London to personally deliver a letter to the Ambassador and ask for his country’s support for future creativity and culture in Europe.
One of the key priorities on the agenda of the Bulgarian Presidency is the Digital Single Market; in particular copyright legislation which aims to harmonise the essential rights of authors and of performers, publishers and broadcasters. The EU needs modern copyright rules fit for the digital age. The Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market is the first update of copyright legislation for 20 years. The European Commission has presented legislative proposals to make sure that consumers and creators can make the most of the digital world and ensure a fairer market place for online content. BASCA has campaigned consistently for the past few years to ensure that the wording of this legislation will best protect and support songwriters and composers.
BASCA CEO Vick Bain says “The Copyright Directive is in now its final stages and so it is vitally important the voice of the music creators and performers are heard at the highest level. That is why BASCA organised a meeting with the Bulgarian Ambassador in order to ensure our points of concern over the future of music and culture in the EU are delivered directly to the Bulgarian Presidency”.
BASCA member Nitin Sawhney comments “Campaigning to ensure songwriters and composers are protected and can earn a liveable income from digital platforms such as YouTube and Spotify is an essential aspect of the BASCA mandate. In that regard, it was an honour yesterday to meet with the Bulgarian Ambassador and ensure the voice of songwriters and composers was heard in this important debate”.
The letter reads:
Dear Ambassador Dimitrov,
We are writing to you today on behalf of 2,200 of the United Kingdom’s top songwriters and composers to ask for your support in securing the best possible legal framework for the protection of future creativity and culture in Europe. We acknowledge the rich and wonderful musical heritage of the Bulgarian people and know you will share a common interest in wishing to protect it.
Music is an essential expression of European cultural identity and a robust copyright regime, coupled with strong accountability across all Creator Rights, is essential if the EU is to protect musicians and composers. Europe’s creative industries have flourished because we have had sensible laws in place to allow a fair and competitive market for content; but the growing domination of the digital environment means those laws are now in urgent need of modernising. One of your stated priorities for the presidency is the Digital Single Market. The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market is that opportunity for modernisation.
In 2015, YouTube accounted for 40% of overall online music consumption but only 4% of revenue. They claim to have paid out $1billion to music industry last year, but that only equates to $1 per user per year. Compare that to the $17 per user per annum returned from streaming services like Spotify and you begin to see the inequity in the market. After a 20% cut from Google Ads YouTube takes another 45% of all advertising income on its platform. The owners of the video and the sound recording share the remainder with finally, songwriters and composers, getting a fraction of the revenue their work generates. And that is only if the works attract advertising; where there is no direct advertising then the creator gets nothing. YouTube is arguably the biggest and probably the best streaming service on the planet, yet it avoids paying properly for the content it serves by exploiting an outdated legal loophole that fails to reflect contemporary consumption habits; Safe Harbour. That is why YouTube is valued at over $70bn yet EU composers and songwriters have to share a fraction of $0.0007 per stream.
Likewise, with Facebook. Last year Forbes valued Facebook at over $400 billion, the 6th most valuable company in the world. Last year they declared over $35 billion in advertising revenue and over 2 billion monthly users of the service. Facebook are only now concluding licensing deals with the major record labels and publishers; yet music has been a key driver of their platform offer for years. We are not privy to the terms of the deal for the majors because of non-disclosure agreements but independent publishers have suggested the licenses are being constructed in such a way to avoid liability or ultimately to pay royalties.
In the Copyright Directive we have a chance to make these platforms secure proper licensing deals for all music used on their service through Article 13. This is a once in a generation opportunity to correct the ‘value gap’; the gap between how much value the platforms take from music and the value returned to the creators for the use of their works.. The Bulgarian Presidency is working on a compromise for Article 13; creators prefer the option that clarifies that the platforms, or online content sharing service providers, such as YouTube and Facebook ‘communicate to the public’ and for the Safe Harbour limitation to be more focused. This will bring them into the music value chain and will correct the drain of the value of European cultural talent and return any benefit to Europe.
There are also other measures in place in the Directive in Articles 14, 15 and 16 that are essential for the future protection of creators and citizen creators and to strengthen their negotiating power to achieve a fairer and more balanced marketplace for their work. The Directive has acknowledged the often-insurmountable difference in power between an individual composer and an international broadcast company in contractual negotiations for their works. These will go some way to correcting this power imbalance and include further obligations towards transparency, a contract adjustment mechanism (in case of a failure to exploit or proportionately share the rewards of success) and a dispute resolution system.
Now Bulgaria is leading the Council’s work; your support for the sensible and timely creator friendly reforms included in this Directive is crucial to maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment for the entire European musical community. As your chosen motto states ‘United We Stand Strong’, we at BASCA certainly hope that Bulgaria will unite with the Creators of Europe to ensure that we can indeed continue to stand strong in the Global Creative Market.