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Helen Smith

IMPALA Sounds A Warning For Europe’s Indie Sector In The Wake Of The 2020 RAAP Ruling

IMPALA's Helen Smith
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BRUSSELS, Belgium (CelebrityAccess) – The Independent Music Publishers and Labels Association (IMPALA), the advocacy organization for independent European music companies, issued a dire warning for Europe’s music sector in the wake of the European Court of Justice 2020 Recorded Artists Actors Performers (RAAP) case ruling.

In the decision, which follows legal cases involving two Irish music royalty collection societies, the European Court of Justice ruled that all performers, regardless of their nationality, are entitled to equitable remuneration of royalties, without exception.

The ruling applies to performers in countries such as the United States where broadcast and public performance royalties are not paid to artists, resulting in what IMPALA characterizes as an “anomaly” where American performers must be paid by European collection societies but European artists are not compensated for such performances in the U.S.

In a lengthy statement, IMPALA Executive Chair Helen Smith addressed the disparity, describing it as a looming disaster for Europe’s artistic sector.

”A devastating transfer of over €125 million every year out of Europe is on the horizon. We have been calling on the European Commission to address this since the ruling came out in September 2020, but despite some initial positive signs last year the silence in recent months has been deafening,” stated IMPALA”s Helen Smith.

“Europe uses harmonization with carve-outs in many areas, let’s see it here. It’s a perfectly proportionate response to what is a huge anomaly. More delay (or worse, inaction) is not a solution. The current situation simply creates uncertainty for everyone: artists, record labels, collection societies, venue operators, broadcasters, shops, and ultimately of course, music fans and diversity.” Helen Smith concluded: “Let’s make no mistake, inaction is not neutral. It is equivalent to an active policy decision to let an anomaly become law, adopting the principle of national treatment with no legislative process despite the court making it clear that the EU can fix this. We are sleep-walking our way into a financial and cultural disaster for the thousands of small European music companies and their artists who account for 80% of all new releases in Europe today,” Smith added.

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