Labour MEPs: New EU copyright laws will ensure fair remuneration for artists while protecting online freedom

New EU copyright laws, which the European Parliament will begin negotiations on with the Commission and national governments following today’s vote, will ensure creators and publishers of copyrighted content receive fair remuneration for their work while protecting online freedom, Labour MEPs said.

Crucially, MEPs backed the two key articles in the draft directive, Articles 11 and 13.

Article 11 concerns the protection of press publications and their digital use. The article protects the use of content and seeks to remunerate publishers and writers whose copy is appropriated by third party publishers.

Article 13 concerns the use of protected content by online sharing service providers. It addresses the ‘value gap’ by ensuring musicians and performers are remunerated if their work appears on user-uploaded video platforms.

The parliament now has a mandate to enter negotiations with the European Commission and member states.

Mary Honeyball MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on legal affairs, said:

“New legislation is needed to keep pace with technology – the EU’s existing rules on copyright were written years ago, before the age of Google and YouTube and the widespread use of the internet.

“These new laws will ensure workers receive fair remuneration while protecting online freedom. There will be no censorship or limits on free speech and no bans on hyperlinks or parodying, nor were there ever any proposals for such measures.

“Artists, writers, musicians, indeed all creators and publishers of original content are not adequately protected under the current rules, and that is why it is vital these long-overdue updates to copyright law are negotiated and agreed on as soon as possible, to ensure workers are remunerated properly.

“Thousands of jobs in Britain depend on the creative industries, which contribute hundreds of millions of pounds to the economy and are one of our fastest growing sectors. It is crucial to act now to ensure creators are protected and are paid for their work.”

Theresa Griffin MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on industry, said:

“The vote today is to ensure creative workers get fairly paid for their work and are not exploited by large online platforms. It closes the value gap, and generates income to reinvest in content and create new work.

“Creative workers should be fairly remunerated. Would we dream of turning to other EU workers and ask them to give their work for free? This is about values, paying creative workers properly for their work, protecting them against exploitation and ending the unfair monopoly of big platforms.”

Julie Ward MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on culture, said:

“This is the biggest shake-up in EU copyright law for 15 years, and will curb the tech giants’ power over online content – and crucially, will ensure creative artists in all the creative sectors are properly and fairly rewarded for their work. This is in line with Labour Party policy.

“The change will address the ridiculous situation at present that means a song needs to be streamed 50 million times on YouTube before the artist can expect to earn the average £27,600 UK salary.

“Our work in the European Parliament is concerned with looking after the small independent artists just starting out on their careers as well as those at the top of the game. Creators are workers, and deserve to have the same rights and protections as all workers, and as Labour MEPs we will continue to stand up for their rights and stand up to big business when it exploits them.”