Sir Paul McCartney To MEPs: Vote For Controversial Copyright Bill

Today, Sir Paul McCartney, the Beatles star, wrote a letter that was addressed to the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) urging them to support a new copyright bill.

The letter was sent ahead of a key vote that is scheduled on Thursday. McCartney called on the MEPs to support the copyright directive which the proponents say will help in protecting the creators and publishers.

The opponents of the said bill say that it is considered to be a threat to the future of the internet as we know it.

Article 13 contains the most controversial proposal in the new directive. It says that websites must “take appropriate and proportionate measures” to ensure that the user-uploaded content complies with the copyright laws.

This could mean that sites including YouTube would have to vet user-uploaded content or face massive penalties.

The directive has been welcomed with enthusiastic support from the music industry as a means to close the “value gap,” that represents the amount that is returned to artists by sites such as Youtube as compared to the revenue that they generate for the platforms.

In his letter, McCartney said: “the value gap jeopardizes the music ecosystem.”

He added: “We need an internet that is fair and sustainable for all. But today some user upload content platforms refuse to compensate artists and all music creators fairly for their work, while they exploit it for their own profit.”

The music industry points to the broad difference between the amount that is returned to music rights holders by advertising-supported sites such as Youtube as compared to subscription sites such as Spotify.

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a music industry body, said that in 2015, the subscription services generated approximately $2 billion (£1.5 billion) from 68 million users, while advertising-supported services returned only $634 million to rights holders from 900 million users.

Critics include Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, and Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. They say that the said directive would turn the internet into “a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.”

YouTube, Google, and other tech titans have also expressed their objections against the said bill.