“Today’s vote in plenary is a positive step in favour of Maltese artists and the media. Over the past weeks I have met artists including singers, songwriters, authors along with publishers and the media, who spoke to me about difficulties they are facing. This is why I campaigned in favour of new legislation which will tackle the issues faced.” MEP Francis Zammit Dimech made these remarks after a report on Copyright was adopted in Plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Zammit Dimech said that during several consultation meetings held in Malta, artists spoke to him about the value gap. Some full time artists had shown him documents showing that their income was less than €200 over six months, even if their work was used extensively. The value gap was in fact a major concern among Maltese stakeholders and which will be tackled through the new legislation.
Zammit Dimech said that supporting artists was crucial for citizens to continue enjoying cultural and creative content. He reiterated the call made by Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja that “the music industry faces extinction without EU legislation" and that the legalisation “will ensure that our youngsters will have recording opportunities in the future”.
Zammit Dimech referred to research carried out by PRS for Music, the performing rights society for songwriters and composers in Malta, which showed that 85% of people in Malta used YouTube to listen to music in the last three months, and over a quarter (28%) used only YouTube to access music. He promised to also keep on pushing for Maltese artists and creators to be paid by YouTube for their work.
Maltese publishers have also expressed concern on the impact that illegalities are having on the sector, jeopardising jobs. In this regard, Zammit Dimech also appealed to authorities to conduct enforcement.
Zammit Dimech, who is a member of the Committee on Legal Affairs, said that the new legislation is also crucial to safeguard quality journalism and ensure a financially independent press whist securing jobs of those working in the media sector.
In the light of misinformation campaigns, Zammit Dimech emphasised that the internet as a platform of free speech will not be compromised in any manner. “This legislation will in no way stop memes, parody or hyperlinking. There will be no link tax. All this has been further clarified in the text as adopted today by the European Parliament” he added.
Zammit Dimech thanked all Maltese stakeholders for their interest and contribution.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 219 Members from 28 Member States