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The Live Music Forum Copyright Campaign


Recently, at a Westminster Media Forum on Copyright we asked some questions about what was being done to move to a wider and fiarer copyright distribution. Since nobody was able to offer any answer we followed these questions up with a letter to the Intellectual Propety Office.

Here is the reply from the IPO.


Dear Mr Little

Thank you for the questions you raised at the Westminster Media Forum and for your follow-up letter.

The royalty rates paid by streaming services are the result of private, commercial agreements between online platforms and r ight holders or their representatives. The Government is not involved in negotiating these agreements and so I’m afraid I cannot comment on the level of remuneration provided by these services.

The issue of fair remuneration for authors and performers wa s an important part of the recently-negotiated EU Directive on copyright in the digital single market. Amongst other things, this Directive says that that authors and performers should be entitled to appropriate and proportionate remuneration when they ent er into contracts with third parties for the exploitation of their works.

The UK supported the Directive, including the provisions on fair remuneration. As the UK will soon be leaving the European Union, it is not required to implement the Directive, but the Government may choose to take action in this area in the future.

Certain aspects of the conduct of UK collective management organisations (CMOs), such as PRS, are regulated by the Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016 (“the CRM Regulations”). These Regulations set standards, including on governance and transparency, for bodies involved in the collective licensing of copyright works and the UKIPO is t he appointed regulator. CMOs in the UK are private commercial organisations and the Government plays no role in setting their distribution policies; it is up to the CMOs and their members, the right holders, to decide on the most appropriate way to distribute revenues collected. However, if there was evidence that a CMO was in breach of their obligations under the Regulations then UKIPO, as the regulator, could investigate. Any individual issue should be dealt with via the complaints system that the CMO is required to operate under the regulations.

With regards to your second question, copyright law gives right holders the ability to control a number of acts, including if and how a work is made available online. Anyone wishing to do this will need permission from the right holder. As such, artists looking to make cover songs and upload them to services like YouTube may be required to get permission from the copyright owner of the original song to do so. This is not changed by Article 17 of the new Copyright Directive. Article 17 seeks to ensure that user generated platforms take greater responsibility for the content uploaded to them by either licensing works fairly or removing them from their platform. It aims to ensure that creators are more fairly rewarded for the use of their works online.

Recognising the importance of the rights of users, and the value of cultural expression online, the Article contains a number of safeguards. These allow people who share content to continue to use copyright exceptions, ensure that they benefit from licences g ranted by right holders, and allow them to complain if they think they are being unfairly prevented from using content. We believe these elements will help to ensure that users can continue to use platforms in the manner to which they have become accustomed.

I hope this response has been of some assistance.

Kind regards
Tim Moss


Emal: editor@livemusicforum.co.uk