Sir Paul McCartney has written a heartfelt open letter to the European Parliament, calling for all music artists to be fairly paid for their work.
The former Beatle is urging MEPs to back proposed changes to EU copyright law – Article 13 – which would force user upload content platforms to pay songwriters and performers fairly for the use of their work.
The 76-year-old musician says that without this change, the future of the music industry could be at risk.
In the note, Sir Paul writes: “Music and culture matter. They are a heart and soul. But they don’t just happen; they demand the hard work of so many people.
“Importantly, music also creates jobs and economic growth and digital innovation across Europe.
“Unfortunately the value gap jeopardises the music ecosystem. We need an internet that is fair and sustainable for all.”
He goes on: “But today some user upload content platforms refuse to compensate artists and all music creators fairly for their work while they exploit it for their own profit.
“The value gap is that gulf between the value these platforms derive from music and the value they pay creators.”
Sir Paul concludes with a plea for MEPs to support the changes, writing: “You hold in your hands the future of music here in Europe.”
In response to Sir Paul’s letter, Michael Dugher – the chief executive of UK Music, which represents the interests of the UK’s music industry – tweeted his support.
I’ve loved McCartney since i was a kid. For me he’s the greatest songwriter the world has ever known & a virtuoso musician who’s brought happiness to billions of people. And now he’s working to ensure future generations of creative talent get fair rewards. Legend. Thank you Macca https://t.co/5VvGawgd0A
— Michael Dugher (@MichaelDugher) July 4, 2018
He wrote: “I’ve loved McCartney since i was a kid. For me he’s the greatest songwriter the world has ever known & a virtuoso musician who’s brought happiness to billions of people. And now he’s working to ensure future generations of creative talent get fair rewards. Legend. Thank you Macca.”
However, Ryan Merkley, chief executive of Creative Commons – a not-for-profit organisation which encourages people to share creative work with a set of simple licenses – raised a different viewpoint.
John Lennon had a more enlightened view: “Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it.”
— Ryan Merkley (@ryanmerkley) July 4, 2018
Mr Merkley tweeted: “Paul McCartney, whose band started out playing cover songs that would have been blocked by these upload filters, now wants them in the EU to protect his own songs. The Past always tries to control the creativity that builds upon it.”
He also quoted Sir Paul’s former Beatle-bandmate John Lennon, claiming he had a more “enlightened view”, writing: “Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it.”
The vote will take place in the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday.