Strongly criticized copyright directive in effect: makers happy, worries remain

For years, musicians, filmmakers and photographers saw their work used online without compensation. Until today. Because a new directive is coming into effect in the EU that should change that.

“We have been waiting for this for years,” says Rita Zipora, composer and chairman of the Council of Rightholders of Buma/Stemra. “The most important thing for us is that YouTube is actually a free streaming platform for music, while they pay the least of all music services.”

Buma/Stemra already has agreements with YouTube, but plans to ask for more compensation for its members with the guideline in hand. The video platform paid out 4 billion dollars worldwide to the music industry in one year.

In recent years there has been a fierce battle over the directive: there was a lot of resistance. One of the biggest concerns was about the so-called upload filter (blocking content if no agreements have been made) and the chance that this also prevents legal content, such as parodies.

A chilling effect

The NOS spoke with organizations that represent copyright holders, with makers themselves, platforms that have to apply the rules and people who are critical of the regulations. Stakeholders expect that, if all goes well, users will not notice the changes. At the same time, the question is how the rules will work out in practice.

“It remains uncertain whether the directive will provide a chilling effect“, says Stef van Gompel, associate professor of intellectual property (University of Amsterdam). “The question is how freedom of expression is dealt with and how strictly the directive is applied.”

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