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Guest Post by @DMcGonigal: How will the creative industries fare in the new European Parliament?

June 4, 2019 Comments off

[We are thrilled to have a guest post by my friend Dominic McGonigal, Chair of the erudite C8 Associates think tank based in London and Brussels.]

The EU elections attracted the biggest turnout for quarter of a century, bucking the trend of declining interest in the EU among European voters. It was spurred by Brexiteers and their national equivalents, matched by internationalists who wanted to show their pro-European credentials.

But there was no clear manifesto on either side and the result is a curate’s egg.

The two largest parties are the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D), reflecting the power base in most EU Member States, centre right and centre left. They used to dominate the Parliament in what was known as the Grand Coalition. When they agreed on a piece of legislation, they had the combined votes to see it through. For the creative sector, that meant support for any proposal that both respected intellectual property rights and enhanced the rights of authors. Although in the last Parliament, even this was not enough as the S&D in particular was split as many of their MEPs bought into the ‘free internet’ ideology.

Now the EPP and S&D no longer have a majority between them. In practice, any legislation needed the support of other parties. Now, it definitely does.

Here are the provisional results by party.

It is also interesting to see how the parties divide along pro- and anti-EU lines. Much has been made of Nigel Farage taking 30 seats for the new Brexit Party (from 28 UKIP seats previously), but the nationalists did not gain as much as expected. You can see here that pro-EU parties have 72% of the chamber.

We have already seen the impact of the smaller parties. Last year, a party with just one member, the Pirate Party, managed to build up a blocking vote on the Copyright Directive, admittedly aided by the online muscle of one of the tech giants.

So, the other parties assume greater significance now, especially if they choose to focus on a particular topic.

Leading the charge of small parties with a loud voice is the Pirate Party. Ten years ago, the Pirate Party had two seats. In the last Parliament, they had just one. Now they have four seats – one German pirate and three Czechs.

The German pirate, Patrick Beyer, has already aligned with the Greens. The three Czech pirates may well follow although they have moved on from the single issue of internet freedom to embrace transparency in government and other similar policies.

In the last Parliament, a single pirate MEP, Julia Reda, persuaded all but two of the Green party, as well as many others, to support her in opposing increased remuneration for the creative sector in the Copyright Directive. With four pirate party MEPs pushing an anti-copyright agenda, they could build a stronger anti-copyright grouping, especially as the two Greens who supported the creative industries have both retired. We have lost some other influential supporters, through retirement or shifts in voting allegiances.

We still have some powerful advocates in Germany, France, Spain, Holland and the UK (at least until Brexit). But they will have a tougher battle creating a majority against the vocal protest votes led by any MEP that objects to the European approach to culture and the creative economy.

Dominic McGonigal

June 2019




Happy Monday: The MTP SPOTify Chart

June 3, 2019 Comments off

Spotify Chart 6-3-19

Happy Monday–here’s the Spotify chart update.  Spotify is in its second downside breakout of the consensus trading range ($145-$132).  Unless it retraces back over $132, it would appear that the next downside support level is $106 where the stock closed on 12/21/18 or thereabouts.

The company just had its second “death cross” in less than 6 months where the the 50 day moving average crosses the 100 day moving average to the downside.

It would appear that the $1 billion stock buyback that Spotify announced (because that’s a good thing to do with the investor’s money) hasn’t worked very well so far.  But pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

20 Questions for New Artists Sidebar: The Importance of Metadata

May 6, 2019 Comments off

[For the next few weeks, we’re going to post updated sections from the article “20 Questions for New Artists” that Amy Mitchell and I wrote a few years ago which has been posted various places.  This doesn’t constitute legal advice, or any intent to form the attorney-client relationship. (If you miss an installment, try searching this blog for “20 Questions for New Artists”.)  For new issues that should be included for new artists, we’ll be adding the “Sidebar”, and this is our first one on the important subject of “metadata’.]

“Metadata” is a generic term for “credits” or what is also called “label copy”.   It is–at a minimum–the song title, artist name and sound recording copyright owner for each track, but should also include the songwriters, side musicians and vocalists, the producer and, if applicable any remixers or mixers.  The “metadata” issue comes up every time you—or someone you authorize—upload your recordings or videos to a digital service, or your song information to ASCAP or BMI or your recording information to SoundExchange.  Any mistakes you make potentially stand in the way of your getting paid by those services or PROs.

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you are consistent in your metadata and that you make an extra effort to correct it if you see it is incorrect on any digital service.  These are burdens of time on artists and their managers, but correcting metadata is often at the bottom of the failure of a service to account to you for your royalty.

Any mistakes along the way can get magnified and may drag you into a Kafka-esque experience inside the room of mirrors in Dataland, where mistakes are always someone else’s fault, everyone is understaffed and the machines rule and are considered to be infallible.

Make sure you ask your distributor for their rules for metadata, often called a “style guide”.  In the meantime, you should read the iTunes Style Guide which is available from Apple at this link:

There’s a lot of information there, but it is important stuff to know.  Remember—your ability to get paid may depend on the tender mercies of a data input clerk working at minimum wage who you will never meet and who probably does not care as much as you do about getting your data input correctly.  You need to make it as easy as possible for them to do their job right.  However you may feel about poorly paid data entry clerks, empathy doesn’t pay your bills.



Copyright 2019 by Chris Castle and Amy Mitchell

Must Read: @RobertBLevine_: Karyn Temple Appointed United States Register of Copyrights @CopyrightOffice — Artist Rights Watch

March 28, 2019 Comments off

In a week of great news for copyright, Karyn Temple has been appointed Register of Copyrights (the head of the U.S. Copyright Office).

via Must Read: @RobertBLevine_: Karyn Temple Appointed United States Register of Copyrights @CopyrightOffice — Artist Rights Watch

Facebook and the Enemy Within: T-Bone Burnett’s Keynote at SXSW 2019 — Artist Rights Watch

March 19, 2019 Comments off


As usual, Henry gives an extremely relevant and literate dissertation on the loss of humanity imposed on us by Big Brother’s youngest sibling, Mark Zuckerberg–the boy who wouldn’t grow up, but who instead created an app for Room 101.

Please listen to T Bone when you have a quiet hour to yourself.


@rachelrwithers: Amazon Owes Wikipedia Big-Time — Artist Rights Watch

March 12, 2019 Comments off

Amazon gave $1 million to Wikipedia–and gets way more out of the deal than the charity.

via @rachelrwithers: Amazon Owes Wikipedia Big-Time — Artist Rights Watch

@crispinhunt: Critics of Article 13 are Weaving a Narrative with No Relationship to Fact — Artist Rights Watch

March 7, 2019 Comments off

[An excellent post by songwriter and BASCA chair Crispin Hunt on the remarkable disinformation campaign being waged by legacy tech companies against safe harbor reform in Europe.] A recent article by Rhett Jones, which appeared in Gizmodo, perfectly encapsulated the feverish disinformation campaign around Article 13 being undertaken by US tech companies and their minions. […]

via @crispinhunt: Critics of Article 13 are Weaving a Narrative with No Relationship to Fact — Artist Rights Watch

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