|ECSA press release
Brussels, 3rd July 2008 – Benny Anderson, Charles Aznavour, Pedro Almodovar, James Blunt, Miguel Bose, Patrick Doyle, Bryan Ferry, Robin Gibb, David Gilmour , Julio Iglesias, Maurice Jarre, Mark Knopfler, Michel Legrand, Paco de Lucia, Sir Paul McCartney, Enio Morricone, Nicoal Piovani, Sade, Alejandro Sanz, Caetano Veloso, Gabriel Yared... are among the numerous artists and creators who recently appealed to the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to express their deep concerns about a possible unfavourable decision on pan-European licensing of music.
In a meeting with the cabinet of EC President Barroso (on July 3rd at 9:00am) and in a public declaration read today at a press conference (July 3rd at 10:30am), Robin Gibb, Patrick Doyle, Laurent Petitgirard and David Ferguson – on behalf of the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) and the entire creative community – reiterated their call to EC President:
“It is here Mr Barroso that we need political leadership. Hundreds of thousands of small and medium size businesses, both writers and publishers, are likely to be wiped away without your help. We believe this will be a lasting disaster for all Europeans, culturally, socially and economically. We urge you to take a pause at this point and to bring together parties including [...] us, the Authors, to formulate a positive way forward for the role creativity and music in a digital Europe.”
Creators have been informed that the European Commission is considering issuing a decision finding an infringement in the CISAC competition case on multi-territorial licensing of music rights for online, satellite and cable (2006 Statement of Objections).
“DG Competition perceives competition as the sole solution to every problem and try to prejudicially brand the authors’ societies as “monopolies”. If, as the DG Competition is appearing to suggest, the Societies are required to ‘compete’ with one another across national boundaries on price, the whole system will collapse. Major rights holders will withdraw their repertoires and either place them with an agency [...] or they will look towards direct licensing themselves.”
If confirmed by the Commission, a decision adverse to the interests of creators and their societies would have nothing but negative consequences from all perspectives and bring no benefit to the development of the online market:
- For creators – It would lead to drastic reduction in the income of millions of creators worldwide, thus preventing most of them from earning a living from their work. Competition between authors’ societies for users on price would result in a race to the bottom on copyright royalties’ value (the European repertoire being licensed by the society offering the cheapest royalty remuneration).
- For users (online service providers, broadcasters...) – It would result in a further fragmentation of the repertoire and create a confusion and legal uncertainty for users on all present and future licensing deals for online, cable and satellite use of musical works.
- For the public – It would reduce consumers’ access to music and culture in general, and further increase piracy.
- For authors’ societies – It would weaken their ability to represent and defend creators and to negotiate fair remuneration for the use of their works.
- For the European online market – It would do major damage to European cultural policy and severely reduce the ability for Europe to produce cultural goods of any value in the international market.
“Authors’ societies, their publisher and creator members, and music users, with the full encouragement and support of the European Commission, have been striving over recent years to adapt to the demand of the online environment for licences covering several countries. This involves a fundamental change to the territorial basis on which creators’ rights have been traditionally organised and managed. A number of significant changes have already taken place and the process of evolution is already well under way. This should be allowed to continue in as orderly a fashion as possible as those directly involved in the business of licensing music are best placed to develop a solid and sustainable foundation for the new online music market” as British creators explained in their letter to President Barroso.