We’re always honored to partner with the Music Business Association to educate rightsholders and creators about copyright, and were especially thrilled to host a panel at the 2022 Music Biz annual conference in Nashville. At Pex, we’ve been closely following copyright legislation developments in the EU and US – most notably the EU’s Article 17 – for several years, and are passionate about reforms that help balance the scales between platforms and rightsholders. Check out our past webinars with Music Biz or download our starter kit to get up to speed.
Our panel, Legislative outlook: Is EU copyright law a blueprint for the future of the music industry and growing creator economy?, brought policy and industry experts together to talk about recent Article 17 updates, ongoing U.S. reforms, and the impact of these policies on creators.
The panel included:
- Neeta Ragoowansi | Senior Counsel at Global Citizen
- Abby North | President of North Music Group
- Colin Rushing | Former General Counsel at SoundExchange
- Deborah Fairchild | President at VEVA Sound
- Jim Griffin | Policy at Pex
EU Court of Justice rules filtering does not reduce free expression
After recapping the obligations Article 17 established for social media platforms, the panel gave an update on a case brought against Article 17 by Poland. Colin Rushing explained: “Poland argued that the whole Article 17 construct was unlawful under existing EU law on the grounds that it interfered with freedom of expression. They raised the concern that if platforms are playing a filtering role, that it would reduce free expression. But the case was just resolved and the court determined that these two principles are not in conflict. Article 17 is fine under existing EU law.”
This is a debate we have in the US as well – what’s the right balance between allowing free expression and ensuring that rightsholders and creators are being protected? If we are to use the EU as a blueprint, then we have a strong indicator that filtering, when done correctly and with appropriate safeguards, does not reduce free expression, and can protect rightsholders without harming content creators or platforms.
The need for Standard Technical Measures
At Pex, what we see evolving from the legislative process in the US is an attempt to define Standard Technical Measures, or STMs. In other words, what is the bare minimum that should be expected of a content-sharing platform? Jim Griffin explained, “If we can establish that [platforms] know what they’re distributing, that gets the process started in a way that represents responsibility. If you do employ STMs to identify the content uploaded to your platform, then you receive an incentive, which is a waiver of infringement liability. The bare minimum that should be expected of any business is to know what’s coming in the back door before you shove it out the front door.” Watch the full STM conversation in the panel highlight below.
Moderator Neeta Ragoowansi pointed out the need for businesses and technology to help with STMs, so the burden doesn’t fall to individual creators and rightsholders. At Pex, we not only advocate for STMs, but also show legislators in the EU and in D.C. that our technology sets a new standard for identification, and takes the burden off of rightsholders, creators, and platforms.
Youtube’s Content ID system is often seen by legislators as the industry standard, and an obvious choice for defining an STM. But Abby North makes an important point about its biggest shortcoming: Content ID is only for one platform. “We need more,” North said. “We need every single platform that has user-generated content, whether it’s in the United States or elsewhere, to have some kind of a content management system for rightsholders and creators to dictate what happens with their works.”
“We need every single platform that has user-generated content… to have some kind of a content management system for rightsholders and creators…” – Abby North
What the future holds for rightsholders and creators
So what’s next, and what can rightsholders expect from ongoing legislative conversations? Hear final thoughts from the panelists below.
Let’s talk copyright control on social media
The first step in taking advantage of Article 17 – regardless of where you’re located – is registering your content with an entity that can identify and protect it across social media platforms. Our Attribution Engine allows any rightsholder to register and manage their content across participating platforms at no cost. It’s easy to register and set rules governing how your catalog can be used and where. We don’t take a percentage of royalties either.
Contact our team to learn more and request a demo.