Music Publishers in Germany Say It's 'High Time' the EU Acted on YouTube

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It's "high time" for the European Commission in Brussels to finally impose a statutory duty on music platforms like YouTube so that authors and publishers receive a fair share of revenues, Prof. Dr. Rolf Budde, chairman of the German Music Publisher Association, told Billboard in a new interview.

Budde argues that the copyright law reform currently being discussed at the EU will enhance transparency and place the authors and music publishers on the same footing as the platform operators.

Explains Budde: "It is high time in the digital era for the Internet to treat creative people fairly as they make such an important contribution to ensuring that everyone benefits from the digital future."

Budde, who is welcoming representatives of publishers and authors associations to a reception on Thursday to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Budde Music Publishing in Berlin, has called on authors and music publishers to form a large international solidarity movement to force the EU Commission to realize that the entire creative scene is suffering from the fact that multinational groups are earning fortunes but often only paying creative people a pittance.

In his interview with Billboard, Budde appealed to the EU Commission to stipulate in the existing directive on copyright law that platforms where customers can upload content -- like music -- should be subject to a statutory duty to pay remuneration.

"These online platforms are still not giving creative people reasonable and fair remuneration," he said. "This is a grave injustice and cannot be tolerated any longer."

To Budde, digital firms have frequently displayed little respect for the authors' creative achievements. They tried to cut royalties through criticism of collecting societies such as GEMA. It was for this reason that Budde called on all authors and publishers to join forces to fight for a new copyright directive which complied with their ideas of fairness. 

He added that it was necessary to put an end to the period in which platform operators were able to use legislative loopholes to shirk their responsibility under copyright by purporting to provide solely infrastructure services.