Sacem’s General Secretary David El Sayegh explains in LES ECHOS why, post-Directive, Internet users will still be able to use well-known music for their personal videos and why upcoming artists will still be able to cover hits in order to get themselves known.
YouTube is stepping up its lobbying efforts ahead of the final stretch of the copyright reform. What is your reaction to this?First of all, we are shocked by this propaganda campaign. YouTube is supposed to be a neutral platform. By financing YouTube users to get them to read statements against the European Directive, it is doing the opposite; all of this has been orchestrated using Google’s considerable financial resources.
Above all, the information conveyed is inaccurate. They are attempting to assert that all content will need to be filtered. However, this is false. In reality, there will be three situations. Most rightholders will want their content to appear on the platforms and will negotiate licences. The situation will be the same as the current situation. In addition to official videos, the licence will also cover Internet users’ acts of exploitation, i.e. the videos created by Internet users which contain protected works. In the second situation, the rightholders do not want their content to be posted on the platform by Internet users. In this case, there will be no filtering, despite YouTube’s claims . The rightholders will need to provide the platforms with relevant informant (digital fingerprints, metadata, etc.) in order for their content to be removed. I would like to add that the platforms will not be required to do anything for the content covered by exceptions: quotes, parodies, and others, for scientific or educational purposes, etc. Finally, in the last situation, YouTube will not be required to do anything for rightholders who do not mind and who are not looking to monetise their content.
In concrete terms, there is a fear that young artists will not be able to make a cover version of a song that will make them famous or that fans will not be able to upload a video with their favourite song. What do you say to this?
The case of the young singer Kendji Girac, who became famous after covering a well-known song, was brought up. The Directive will not change this situation in the slightest. YouTube has an agreement with Sacem, and it shall still have one post-Directive. The agreement authorises young upcoming artists in particular to cover songs from the repertoire managed by Sacem.
The same is true for music used as a background track since the agreements cover Internet users’ acts of exploitation. An overwhelming majority of the songs will be covered. We at Sacem already have 15 million: you can get married several times with different songs for your personal video!
Susan Wojcicki stated in the FT that it is even difficult to establish the identities of the rightholders for a song such as “Despacito”.
That is utter nonsense. Spotify or TF1, which play this ultra-famous song abundantly are able to overcome the same difficulties. If the rightholders who deem themselves to have been cheated do not manifest their presence and provide the appropriate arguments, YouTube will not be liable. It should be noted that the ecosystem managing copyright is used to adjusting payments well after a record has been released if new rightholders manifest their presence and provide the appropriate information.
The platforms fear that the Directive will change their business model.
It is not going to revolutionise the system. We do not want to kill the content generated by users, and artists need YouTube. The only thing that will change is that the platforms will need to be more transparent. Currently, for instance, it is YouTube which provides the definition of predominantly musical content; it believes that this only relates to music videos. We, on the other hand, see things differently: the category can include recording of concerts, for instance. We need real data, to understand why certain videos are not monetised. We want to know the turnover generated by YouTube thanks to our content.
The Directive will also provide us with a lever for conducting negotiations. The ratio is currently asymmetrical. Yet, the platforms are not simples hosting companies, they are also advertising agencies. Therefore, authors have every right to be properly remunerated or even to request, in certain rare cases, that their content not be made visible.
The platforms accuse you of leaving them with the responsibility of identifying content.
Our duty is to provide the appropriate information, but theirs is to implement the relevant technical systems. They are the ones who are broadcasting! They are companies using new technologies. Oddly, YouTube’s ContentID content recognition system does not work well, despite the Google subsidiary being able to target that Internet users will enjoy with great precision. I have also noted that when risks to brand safety occur with adverts appearing alongside videos with questionable content, YouTube makes every effort to placate its advertisers. Why is this too complicated to do in relation to copyright?
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