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Helen Smith
IMPALA's Helen Smith

IMPALA Calls On The EU To Move Forward With A Study

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (CelebrityAccess) — IMPALA, the European trade association for independent music companies, has called on the European Parliament to address a court ruling that may cost European performers and record labels millions in lost royalties.

The ruling in a court decision involving Irish collection societies RAAP and PPI, exposed a loophole in the EU’s 2006 Rental Directive that has impacted reciprocity with the U.S.

The U.S. is one of the only nations in the world where performers are not paid royalties for radio play, leaving European performers and record labels bereft of those royalties when their music is played in stateside cafes, clubs, or terrestrial radio.

In July, the EU Commissioner Thierry Breton announced that the EU would take the issue up and said that a study would be launched but four months later, there appears to have been no forward progress.

Now, IMPALA has issued an open letter to the EU calling for action to address the loophole.

Brussels, 3rd November 2021

The Chair of the European Parliament’s culture committee, Sabine Verheyen, and other parliamentarians have challenged the European Commission about its continued failure to address a court ruling from last year on European performance income.

This ruling is known as the “Raap” case which puts at stake millions a year for European performers and labels. A new question has been put to the EU Commissioner in charge, Thierry Breton.

This follows a first question earlier this year from EU parliamentarian Ibán García Del Blanco and a cross-party group of MEPs, all of whom also co-signed this new question. Commissioner Thierry Breton responded to the initial query before the summer, acknowledging the sector’s concerns and indicating that a study would be launched shortly. Four months later, there is still no action.

In light of this delay, the members of the European parliament are now asking when the study will be launched and when the Commission will propose confirming reciprocal treatment* for performance and broadcast rights, which the EU Court of Justice has in essence suspended on a technicality. The question also asks how the Commission will compensate those who lose revenue due to its failure to take action.

Sabine Verheyen, Chair of the European Parliament’s Culture committee, said: “Time is of the essence if we want to avoid a financial disaster for a music sector which is already struggling due to Covid, so we are asking for responses and action from the European Commission.”

Ibán García Del Blanco, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee, added: “The solution is straightforward, the EU court itself indicated that the relevant directive can simply be amended to re-confirm reciprocal treatment for European performance and broadcast rights. Let’s get it done and not lose more time.”

Helen Smith, Executive Chair of IMPALA, concluded: “It’s been a year since we flagged that this ruling could cost European producers and performers €125 million a year in broadcast and public performance income to the USA alone. We look to the EU to get the directive clarified urgently, now is really not the time for the music sector to lose that kind of money.”

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