Brussels
19 May 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

DSM proposal undermines free licenses, says EFF


A new proposal as part of the EU’s Digital Single Market Directive could effectively ban online streaming services from hosting works under free licenses.

The proposal, which was uncovered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), would create a tax on copyright works made available on streaming services, payable to the collecting societies.

Authors and performers would not be able to waive the tax, giving them “fair remuneration” whether they agree or not.

The proposal states that “when authors and performers transfer or assign the right of making available to the public of their works or other subject matter for online on-demand services, they retain the right to fair remuneration derived from the direct exploitation of their works present in the catalogue of those services”.

“The right of an author or performer to obtain fair remuneration for the making available of his/her work [as described above] cannot be waived.”

Jeremy Malcolm, senior global policy analyst at EFF said in a blog post that the amendment would “eliminate one of the few advantages that small and independent artists enjoy in promoting their work online–the ability to make it available for free”.

“For some such artists, the free online availability of their work builds up a fan base to support future licensing deals, concert tours, and merchandise sales. Others may release some or all of their work for free for non-economic reasons, such as to communicate a message, or simply for the love of their art.”

He added: “If this amendment passes, that choice will be taken away from them.”

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