A fight for rights

MagSacem #101 - Autumn 2018

Wednesday 12th September 2018 marked a historic milestone for the future of culture and creation. The European parliament adopted the proposal for a directive on author's rights in the digital single market after the significant threat of a dark day for Europe had hovered all summer...

Timeline of a battle that is not yet over :


6th March, Brussels

More than 20,000 creators from all over Europe signed a petition, initiated by GESAC (European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers). It was lodged in Brussels by a delegation of European artists led by Jean-Michel Jarre, president of Cisac (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers).

Faced with the desire of some parliamentarians to question the right of creators to obtain fair remuneration for the use of their works on the Internet, artists strove to raise awareness of the issue with elected officials.

The heart of this mobilisation is about the transfer of value: on the internet, 80% of advertising revenues are received by the platforms (YouTube, Facebook...). Attractive thanks to the cultural content, these platforms generate significant incomes, while the creators receive only a tiny part of these. The petition for a better income balance is online at makeinternetfair.eu.

13th April, "On the internet, only the law can guarantee freedom"

Jean-Noël Tronc, Chief Executive Officer of Sacem, spoke at a forum published in Le Monde, to defend the rights of European creators.

Faced with the irresponsibility of certain platforms and in an attempt to end the unfair competition they inflict on those who play the game, he called for a clear and strengthened legal framework.

17th April, Strasbourg

A delegation of French artists, including Alain Chamfort, Joyce Jonathan, Jean-Claude Petit (Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sacem in exercise) and Beatrice Thiriet, visited the European Parliament on the occasion of the intervention of President Emmanuel Macron in front of MEPs.

20th June

MEPs from the Legal Affairs Committee adopted the report on the proposal for a directive on author's rights in the Digital Single Market. A victory on the behalf of the creators, despite the intense misinformation campaign led by Gafa and the pirate party. The text still needed to be validated by the plenary of the European Parliament on 5th July.

End of June

The Gesac petition gained over thirty-one thousand signatories. Artists and creators continue to appeal to the responsibility of elected officials...

To counter the rise of opponents to the directive, several European authors' societies created Creators' Rights, a platform inviting all citizens to write to MEPs to make their voices heard!

3rd July

If we cannot make a living from our work, we creators are doomed to disappear." Jean-Jacques Goldman, Julien Doré, Abd al-Malik, Françoise Hardy... More than seventy artists signed a tribune put online by the daily newspaper Le Monde, to defend the European copyright reform against lobbies by GAFA.

5 July, the shock

MEPs rejected the negotiating mandate of the author's rights directive. This vote was the result of a violent GAFA campaign that manipulated the opinion of a large number of MEPs, disregarding the work done by their colleagues in the Legal Affairs Committee.


Sacem participated in the launch of #EuropeForCreators. A coalition of citizens mobilised to convince MEPs and urged citizens to put pressure on their MEPs. Europe for Creators launched a global communication and influence campaign in seven European countries in the name of culture and democracy in the European Union.

In Poland, Jean-Noël Tronc participated in a round table and talks with Polish Minister of Culture Paweł Lewandowski and artists including composer Jan Kaczmarek.

6 September, 11 a.m., the Buren Columns

"We are a people of stories. From childhood to the evening of our lives, we feed on the stories that the human imagination offers us. What is a human being without these stories? We read about them and watch them on our mobile phones and TVs, we learn about them in museums, book shops, cinemas and even when we’re lying in bed; our lives are richer for these stories. But our music, our words and our images are now under threat". Hundreds of people responded to the call on the 6th September, in the presence of Françoise Nyssen, Minister of Culture.

11th September, Strasbourg

Improvised concert in front of the European Parliament and gathering of authors-composers, publishers, French and Polish writers, at the bottom of the Strasbourg cathedral, the day before the vote.

"Another failure of the authors' rights directive would be a black day for European culture": Jean-Noël Tronc signs a new forum in the daily newspaper Le Monde.

12th September, adoption of the directive

The European Parliament adopted, by a large majority, the text of the proposal for an authors' rights directive on Wednesday 12th September, by four hundred and thirty-eight votes for, two hundred and twenty-six votes against and thirty-nine abstentions. Two hundred and fifty-two members had changed their minds since the 5th of July. The so-called 'trilogue' process (between the Council, the Commission and the Parliament) committed to adopt a final version of the directive, which will come back to the European Parliament for ratification. Let's stay focused!

438 vote for, 226 votes against and 39 abstentions.

82% Europeans in favour of EU intervention regarding author's rights[1].


[1] Harris Interactive survey - six thousand six hundred Europeans surveyed from 24th to 30th August 2018 in Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain and Romania.



A historic text

The European Parliament adopted, with a large majority, the text of the proposed copyright directive on Wednesday 12th September. A historic step for the protection of creators on the internet, despite the intense campaign of misinformation and pressure from GAFA to reject this text.


This vote was obtained thanks to the mobilisation of artists and creators, to the commitment of professional organisations of all songwriters, composers and publishers and the tireless work of MEPs such as Pervenche Berès, Jean-Marie Cavada, Marc Joulaud, Virginie Rozière, Helga Trüpel and Axel Voss. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, personally committed himself to fighting alongside the artists. The Minister of Culture, Françoise Nyssen, also lobbied throughout the campaign.


This authors' rights reform must ensure that authors are always visible on the internet (social networks, search engines, etc.), while benefiting from better remuneration and control over their works. The aim was also to create a related right for the press.


Faced with GAFA, the text offers artists and creators a bargaining tool to use with services like YouTube or Facebook, allowing them an increased share of the revenue generated by these platforms.

And now?

The text will be discussed by the European Parliament, The European Commission and the European Council. These three stakeholders will have to agree on the final version of the text. It should take a few months.

This phase is called the "trilogue". Last of all, the final text will be adopted by the European Parliament and transposed in each Member State. We must remain committed and continue to fight for this text. GAFAs did not pay their taxes in Europe, they will now have to pay creators and artists fairly.


Article 13 of the directive

It applies to platforms that store and provide access to many protected works (music, films, clips, photos...) posted by Internet users, and which showcase this content for commercial purposes, such as YouTube or Facebook. These platforms are now bound by obligations: for example, they must produce contracts guaranteeing fair and appropriate remuneration to rights holders. In the event of a conflict between the platforms and the latter, they may have recourse to an independent dispute resolution body.

Article 13 also expressly provides that platforms and rights holders shall not prevent the provision on these services of content that does not infringe copyright. If, however, videos have been unjustifiably blocked, platforms must provide complaint and appeal mechanisms for users. In the event of a dispute between users and the platform, the text provides that users will have access to an independent dispute resolution authority.



MagSacem n°101





Published November 30 2018