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Getting a fair slice of EU copyright cake

Getting a fair slice of EU copyright cake
By Damon Embling
Published on Updated
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As the EU celebrates bloc's cultural heritage, a fierce political debate rages over tougher copyright plans


A feast for culture vultures. The European Parliament dedicated Tuesday to the bloc's rich cultural heritage - marking it with a youth orchestra performance.

The EU's cultural and creative industry gives jobs to almost eight million people.

And the economic benefits are substantial - with hotels, restaurants and transport providers among those reaping the rewards.

Pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim says Europe stands out.

"The European continent is defined as the continent of culture, much more than other continent," he told Euronews.

"The great personalities of philosophy, music, literature, painting, they are all Europeans. It's that which defines Europe, it's not the cars, the planes or the economy."

Political battle

But behind all this lies a fierce political battle.

Tougher EU copyright rules are afoot because of the growing role of online platforms. Reforms which performers like Jean Michel Jarre are welcoming.

Speaking in Brussels, he told Euronews: "For me, copyright has always existed for a simple reason: because it does not depend on the medium, it does not depend on the music because of the fact that music is on a vinyl, or CD, or MP3 file or tomorrow on something else.

"But precisely attached to their work of art and what's more logical, what's easier than finally to manage to reward the authors on their creations, like any other sector of society is paid for their work."

Slice of 'digital cake'

But internet luminaries, activists and some lawmakers are criticising the reforms - fearing damage to the internet and freedom of expression.

The proposals will be voted on next week by the European Parliament.

Jarre added: "The whole world is looking at the European Parliament, being able today to simply determine a legislative framework to allow artists and creators to survive, to have the next Almodovar, the next Houellebecq, the next Coldplay or Pink Floyd, that's what we're talking about.

"You know we're talking about this digital cake, we see these beautiful graphics on TV, on Euronews, which shares the digital cake. Well with this digital cake, artists should get a small piece because it is they who contribute greatly to the making of this cake in the kitchen."

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