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BPI welcomes digital minister’s value gap commitments

By | Published on Friday 15 September 2017


Record label trade group the BPI has welcomed comments made by the UK’s Digital Minister Matty Hancock regarding that pesky ‘value gap’ that the music industry’s lobbyists have been banging on about so much in recent times.

Hancock gave a speech to the super fun sounding UK Internet Governance Forum earlier this week, which covered a wide range of digital matters, along the way name-checking the various new rules and regs currently being considered by the British government in the digital domain, including those that are copyright based.

Stating that, among other things, the government’s new Digital Charter aims to ensure “there is a fair economic landscape online”, Hancock said: “We are supporting further copyright reform, to support rights holders and help close the value gap. Where value is created online, it must be appropriately rewarded”.

Closing the value gap basically means reforming the copyright safe harbour so that services like YouTube no longer enjoy that kind of protection from liability for copyright infringement, forcing them into higher-rate licensing deals with the music industry.

Such reforms are already part of the draft European Copyright Directive, though quite what the reformed European safe harbour will look like remains to be seen, plus – of course – post-Brexit, UK copyright will likely be divorced from the European IP regime.

Hancock added: “As the UK leaves the EU we will ensure we have one of the most robust systems for protection of intellectual property anywhere in the world, for all civilised societies are based on the fair and equal protection of property rights”.

Welcoming these albeit pretty vague commitments from Hancock, BPI boss Geoff Taylor said yesterday: “It’s encouraging that our government has expressed the firm view that online platforms are not a special case in our society. Rather, they have a duty to act responsibly to prevent harm to others, including creators who own copyright. In addition, the government has been clear that the value gap must be addressed, so that creators can be appropriately rewarded for the value they generate”.

Taylor added: “The Digital Minister’s speech yesterday set out clear principles for the government’s Digital Charter, which will establish a new framework for the internet that continues to encourage rapid digital innovation and growth whilst fairly protecting the citizens and businesses that use it. This would be fantastic news for Britain’s world-leading creative industries, including music, and for the UK economy as a whole”.