U.K. Soliciting Outside Views on Europe's Efforts to Modernize Copyright

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A view from the Emirates Airline of the 02 Arena at sunset with Canary Wharf and the London skyline in the background.

It's not as confusing as it sounds.

The United Kingdom may have voted to leave the European Union, but that doesn't mean it's no longer interested in what happens in Brussels or the laws that are passed in its central courts.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the U.K. Intellectual Property Office is fielding views from across the music, publishing and entertainment industry on the European Commission's draft legislation to modernize the European copyright framework.

After years of consulting with stake holders and behind the scenes lobbying from the tech and music sector, the EC draft proposals were unveiled September 14 at the European Commission's (EC) annual State of the Union address, delivered by EC president Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg. Included among them were provisions to enable rights holders to better negotiate fair remuneration for the use of content on video-sharing platforms such as YouTube or Dailymotion.

Under the draft legislation, which forms part of EC's Digital Single Market strategy, video sharing platforms will also be obliged to ramp up their automatic "content recognition technologies" (like YouTube's Content ID) -- a proviso that will both improve "notice-and-take-down" procedures and lead to more transparent reporting structures, theoretically enabling rights holders to better identify when their works are played and how often.

"I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for their work, whether it is made in studios or living rooms, whether it is disseminated offline or online, whether it is published via a copying machine or commercially hyperlinked on the web," declared Juncker at the unveiling.

Not everyone welcomed the proposals, however, with Pierre Mossiat, president of the Independent Music Publishers Forum (IMPF), among the critics who said that reforms didn't go far enough in addressing the value gap between online music consumption and levels of remuneration paid to artists and rights holders.

"Without clear regulatory guidance the interests of big business will continue to jeopardize the livelihoods of songwriters all around Europe," warned Mossiat, who, nevertheless, called the draft proposals "a step in the right direction."

One month on the British government is now calling for U.K. stakeholders' views on the draft legislation "to ensure that it delivers the best outcomes for all those affected by the measures."

"We would welcome your views on the costs and benefits of these proposals, and suggestions for how the language of the proposed legislation can be improved," a statement on the IP website continues, asking stakeholders and interested parties to send their responses (supported by "open and transparent" evidence) by Dec. 6.

The IPO's call for submissions loosely mirrors that of that of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which is currently fielding proposals from stakeholders around a new rate-setting process to cover the years 2018-2022. The statutory rates set by the CBB will determine mechanical rates and terms for making and distributing phono-records, as well as those for on-demand (or "interactive") streaming services like Spotify and master recording performance licenses for programmed digital and satellite radio, such as Pandora and Sirius XM.