By Tom O’Sullivan
Cork based Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has welcomed aspects of an EU directive that could force sites like YouTube to more fairly remunerate artists.
The Ireland South MEP said the European Copyright Directive, which is still in the negotiating stage, has the potential to deliver fairer compensation for artists whose work is displayed on User Uploaded Content (UUC) services such as YouTube.
“This is a broad an extensive act which is still very much in the negotiating phase and while I am by no means in agreement with every aspect of it I feel I must welcome the parts relating to a fairer deal for artists,” she said.
“Sites like YouTube, where singers, musicians and other artists upload their content, often make huge profits off the backs of their work with very little going to the creators themselves.
“The music industry has changed enormously over the last 10 and it is long past time legislators caught up. UUC services such as Youtube are now the main source of music consumption; 82% of YouTube’s European users use the service to access music and UUC platforms have over 1 billion music users globally.
“Platforms such as these can make vast sums of advertising revenue off musicians but return very little of that to the people creating the content. This directive has the potential to compel sites like Youtube to institute a much fairer deal for artists.
“There is no question that in the current music industry both artists and UUC services need each other; this directive is not about punishing sites like YouTube, a fairer deal for artists means the music industry as a whole will benefit.
“I come from a musical background and I understand the difficulties that the sector is now facing. I have met with several stakeholders on this issue and I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my unwavering support for the industry.
“I am committed to working with anyone that wishes to not only see a sustainable music industry but indeed, a thriving music industry.
“The wealth of home grown talent we have in Ireland is enormous and it is important that we not only support and nurture that industry but share it with the world.
“Our artists are seriously undervalued and directives like this will help ensure that the large providers like Youtube, who made an astonishing €15 billion in in profits in the first part of 2016, play an active, reciprocal part in that industry rather than just profiting off the backs of artists.
“This is not about penalising the end users, this is about huge, profitable, multi national corporations playing their part in sustaining the industry they themselves rely on.”