Thanks to the efforts of music makers and the fans and journalists who love them–who clearly respect music more than YouTube does–the latest round of abuse on Zoë Keating from YouTube has resonated all the way to Brussels where indie label trade group IMPALA launched a new initiative against Google inspired by the reaction to YouTube’s treatment of Zoë. Paul Resnikoff of Digital Music News, Andrew Orlowski of The Register and Stuart Dredge of The Guardian deserve special recognition for doggedly sticking to the story despite Google’s Spotify-like whisper campaign to discredit Zoë.
Independent music companies launched a unique Digital Action Plan today, calling for a new European industrial policy to drive the digital market through the cultural and creative sectors, which account for 4,2% of EU GDP and 7.1 million EU jobs.
The role of culture in Europe’s digital market will be one of the issues debated in the European Parliament today during an extraordinary meeting of the Culture and Education committee with Digital Economy and Society Commissioner Günther Oettinger. MEP Sabine Verheyen, Co-ordinator for the EPP group in the Parliament’s culture committee commented: “This Action Plan presents very practical ways to boost creativity through smaller actors and deliver a dynamic digital single market built on diversity.”
One of the strands of Europe’s new industrial policy would be a range of measures to boost SMEs including independent music companies, who account for 80% of jobs and 80% of investment in new music in Europe today.
IMPALA also asks the EU to rethink how citizens, artists and businesses engage online. The “rules of engagement online” are important in the music world with reports surfacing last week that YouTube is continuing the same abuses which prompted IMPALA to lodge a complaint to the EC last year.
With the debate on copyright a hot topic, the action plan takes a robust stance and calls on the EU to reinforce copyright as a fundamental right, a liberator of the creativity that drives the digital market. The importance of stopping the abuse of the so-called “safe harbour” exemption is also underlined, as well as not transferring creators’ rights to trade to those who are behind calls for weaker copyright.
Remember–the indie labels went through this same YouTube brutality last year that resulted in a nasty negotiation. Of course, YouTube imposed a complete blackout on disclosing the terms of the settlement so they could keep all of us in the dark. The is long standing Google practice designed to pit artists against labels and songwriters against societies. This time, however, Google did not get out of their mess–IMPALA filed an action against Google in the European Commission as a result of Google’s antics before the settlement. And to the great credit of the negotiators for the labels, they did not give up their complaint in Brussels as part of the settlement.
David Lowery’s post at the Trichordist of his letter to the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission crystalizes the connection between how YouTube gored the indie labels and how they were running the same bully tactics against Zoë Keating.
IMPALA launched a 10 point plan, read it here. We could well model in the United States with the Federal Trade Commission:
The 10 points:
1. Reinforcing the rights that drive the digital market and grow Europe’s copyright capital
2. Giving citizens the best digital infrastructure in the world
3. Improving pluralism and diversity online as well as offline
4. Revisiting the “rules of engagement” online
5. Growing Europe’s “missing middle” by improving conditions for smaller actors
6. Effectively tackling websites which are structurally infringing
7. Increasing investment through a new financial approach to culture
8. Introducing greater fairness in taxation
9. Mapping how creativity works and measuring the sectors
10. Placing culture and diversity at the heart of Europe’s international work
We are all in debt to Zoë Keating for having the incredible strength to stand up for herself against the Google monopoly and inspiring lovers of the independent spirit around the world by her story–exactly what we would expect from such an incredibly articulate, deep and passionate artist and her fans.
Thanks to IMPALA for standing with Zoë, thanks to Paul, Andrew and Stuart for sticking with the story, thanks to David for fighting back and standing with Zoë, thanks to the #irespectmusic crew for adopting Zoë’s story as their own, but especially thanks to all of you–everyone who helped bring this story to life around the world on social media.
God bless us every one.