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IP Debate Rages On

Key trade bodies and managers yesterday called on the Government to help music creators and record producers secure more clarity on how their work is being exploited by streaming services.

Over the last 18 months, Music Managers Forum Director, Andy Edwards spearheaded an ambitious attempt to secure a voluntary code of conduct on streaming that could be embraced cross sector by record companies, publishers, artists, songwriters, producers and managers. However, a consensus ultimately couldn’t be reached and Edwards documents the process and reasons in this blog post, effectively saying that discussions ground to a stalemate once the three major labels declined to officially support the code.

MPs had a wide-ranging debate on IP in Westminster yesterday, instigated by Nigel Adams MP, Chair of the APPG on Music (pictured). Adams pointed towards a recent voluntary agreement reached between music and film industries with major search engines, which should result in search engines demoting links to copyright infringing websites and push users towards licensed sources of music, film and other content.

The Intellectual Property Office helped broker the deal and Adams suggested that the IPO could make similar moves between music creators and major labels.

A statement issued by all of the various acronyms representing creatives including BASCA, FAC, MMF, MPG and the MU said: “We therefore welcome the acknowledgement of Parliamentarians that intervention is required to guarantee greater clarity to music-makers – and ensure that a fairer share of the commercial growth from services that use our music goes back to the artists, songwriters and producers that created it”.

The crux of the issue appears to be a continued lack of transparency with regard to deals done between labels, streaming services and collection societies- a situation that results in artists not being able to properly audit or understand digital income or be fully informed about which streaming services they should be supporting. It’s a situation that seems untenable in the long term but The Gen requests that readers shouldn’t hold their breath awaiting Government intervention.

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