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The Waiting Game March 16, 2009

Posted by Dominic in Uncategorized.
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Sitting in on the vote in the Parliamentary Committee last month was like watching a game without knowing the rules. Now I don’t know what the game is, except it involves waiting.

The European Parliament has voted in committee and will vote in plenary next month. In between, the action moves to the Council of Ministers, where officials from the Member States meet in a working group of technocrats. All this activity takes place below the surface. The meetings are closed and no proceedings are published. Snippets of information may emerge but it is impossible to know precisely what is being discussed.

Will the Council reach agreement on the Copyright Term Directive? Will their version of the legislation match the text voted by the Parliamentary Committee? If not, will the two bodies be able to negotiate a compromise version between them? These are all burning questions, affecting thousands of musicians. If anyone sees any white smoke rising from the inner chambers in Brussels, give me a shout.


Explaining the unexplainable January 20, 2009

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Today is a big day. We will hear what the MEPs on the Legal Affairs Committee think about copyright term.

I predict that every MEP that speaks will say he or she has the performers interests at heart. I also predict that some will reflect performers’ views and speak in favour of the Copyright Term Directive. Others will say they want to help performers, and then propose an amendment which is not to our benefit.

My favourite ‘sheep dressed in lamb’s clothing’ is the proposal that performers should be given rights, and then be forced to give them away free. So far, only one MEP has put forward that idea. We’ll see if any other MEPs support her.

By the end of the day, we will have a better idea of which MEPs genuinely have performers’ interests at heart.


To Vote or Not To Vote January 15, 2009

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The list of MEPs backing the draft Copyright Term Directive continues to grow. Every day a few more MEPs tell us they will be voting for a fair copyright term for performers and producers.


This is perhaps not surprising. You expect politicians to vote in line with their principles or in line with the popular vote from their constituents. If you believe performers should be treated fairly, on a par with other creators, you vote to give them the same copyright term. If you sense that musicians and others in your constituency want you to vote for a fair copyright term, that is how you vote.


But what happens if you also vote against everything that the EU does, on principle? You are going to find yourself at odds with yourself. Such is the dilemma of one MEP. Vote yes for the sake of the individuals affected, or vote no for a political ideal.


But surely, if you don’t believe in the institutions, you shouldn’t vote at all? Or represent people where you don’t believe there should be any representation? Fortunately, only one MEP has told us he will be voting against the interests of musicians because he doesn’t believe the EU should be doing anything.