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MMF backs European Commissioner’s call for copyright reform

By | Published on Wednesday 23 November 2011


The Music Managers Forum yesterday backed a speech given by Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, and a senior advocate of copyright reform in Europe, at the Forum d’Avignon event last weekend.

Known for calling on the content industries to be more flexible in the way they deal with and licence digital services, Kroes stressed in her speech that she backed the principles of both copyright and the enforcement of intellectual property rights, but added that the recent fight against online piracy had been futile, and had only ensured that the public see copyright in negative rather than positive terms.

She called on the content industries to work with the digital community to create technologies that better track the ownership of rights and the use of content, and better distribute royalties, and to ensure that all content is digitised and available via licensed platforms. She said laws were needed to simplify the licensing process, again stressing her support for more collective rights management in the digital domain.

Kroes concluded: “It’s not all about copyright. It is certainly important, but we need to stop obsessing about that. The life of an artist is tough: the crisis has made it tougher. Let’s get back to basics, and deliver a system of recognition and reward that puts artists and creators at its heart”.

Expressing its support for Kroes’ viewpoints on the copyright regime, the MMF said in statement yesterday: “Together with the Featured Artist Coalition, the MMF has long argued that the situation where rights holders can use copyright as an instrument of control to stop innovative developments is no way forward. We need a faster, simpler, more efficient licensing regime for copyright on a European wide basis so that creators everywhere in the EU can increase the size and value of the market and crucially, get paid. We agree that ‘rigid legislation from the pre-digital era’ needs immediate adaptation. We need to adapt tax law, kill off the release windows that encourage piracy, embrace
technological innovation and recognise that consumers will pay for what they value”.

Meanwhile MMF Chairman Brian Message told CMU: “Neelie Kroes summed up our views succinctly and with passion. Her final sentence – ‘let’s not wait for a financial crisis in the creative sector to happen to finally adopt the right tools to tackle it – says it all. We applaud her and wholeheartedly share her vision”.