Wednesday, 19 July 2017


Two influential committees in the European Parliament have now voted on their respective responses to the draft European Copyright Directive, and in particular the position the EU will take on 'safe harbour' in the future, and the music industry has generally welcomed those responses. The Consumer Rights Committee had already responded, and now both the Culture (Committee on Culture and Education - CULT) and Industry (Industry, Research and Energy - ITRE) Committees have now had their say, and with regard to safe harbour, both committees resisted calls to abandon or weaken article thirteen, instead seeking to reinforce and further clarify the draft article and the new obligations of safe harbour dwelling services of the YouTube variety. They also responded to a proposal, put forward by the Consumer Rights Committee, which would provide an exception for user-generated content - and which many in the music industry have now said could have a profound impact on the creative community with rights holders having to initiate expensive legal proceedings to establish the actual boundaries of such an exception". In relation to that proposal, yesterday's committees voted (a) against the idea entirely, or (b) to leave such matters to national law within the EU, rejecting the idea that European law-makers should make such an exception compulsory for member states. Helen Smith from the independent label's IMPALA organisation said: "It makes complete sense to narrow the value gap and the parliament has sent a strong message this morning. That's very good news - recalibrating the digital market in this way is necessary to stop creators, start-ups and citizens being dominated by abusive practices of big platforms who don't pay fair or play fair". The important Legal Committee will lead the final round of responding after the summer break. The EFF have a very different take on this. 

Freelance photographer David Slater, who facilitated the now famous 'monkey selfie' taken by black macaque Naruto is now in a dire financial situation as the appellate proceedings regarding the now famous “monkey selfie” photos continue in the United States courts. Slater had to settle for watching a live stream of the proceedings from his United Kingdom home because he can’t afford the flight to the USA, and is also not able to pay for the lawyer representing him, according to The Guardian. In a slightly more surreal intervention, the Chepstow based photographer now says that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - the animal rights organisation) is representing the wrong monkey in court with Slater saying “They definitely have the wrong monkey, and I can guarantee that. My lawyers can confirm it too" adding “The American court system doesn’t seem to care about that, which is baffling.”

A new study carried out by PRS for Music and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), has found that stream-ripping is now the most prevalent and fastest growing form of music piracy in the UK, with nearly 70% of music-specific infringement dominated by the illegal online activity. Research revealed that the use of stream-ripping websites, which allow users to illegally create permanent offline copies of audio or video streams from sites such as YouTube, increased by 141.3% between 2014 and 2016, overwhelmingly overshadowing all other illegal music services.

There has been a big 'fair use' ('fair dealing)' case in Canada which pitted content owners against Canadian Universities, with the latter's copying Guidelines under the microscope. And in Access Copyright v. York University, the Honourable Michael L. Phelan of the Federal Court of Canada came down on the side of Access Copyright, which exists to collect royalties on behalf of creators and publishers. Access had suffered a catastrophic decline in revenues after the Guidelines were adopted by York and other educational institutions, and sued York. York’s copying was for a permitted purpose, namely education, but Justice Phelan found that York’s dealing was unfair, or grossly unfair, on several of the six factors used to assess fair dealing (purpose of the dealing; the character of the dealing; the amount of the dealing (amount of copying); the available alternatives to the dealing; the nature of the work; and the effect of the dealing on the work. The court also found York’s guidelines to be unfair, poorly conceived and arbitrary, and that York made no effort to see that they were followed. There is more on the Financial Post here.


The MPA (Motion Picture Association) EMEA policy team is offering a full-time internship at its offices in Brussels for 6 months. The intern will receive financial compensation. The selected candidate will work closely with the MPA EMEA Policy Department and will primarily focus on supporting the team in implementing the EMEA Policy Strategy. More here

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