New Study: Unlawful US Copyright Exemption Severely Harms European Authors

London, 08/11/2016 – At the International Council of Creators of Music (CIAM) which was held in London this year, Keith Donald, Chairman of Irish authors’ society IMRO, presented the findings of a new study on the US Copyright Act exemption 110(5)(B). The study quantifies that $44 million per year is lost to European rights holders, and should serve as a reminder that the exemption is in breach of the TRIPS agreements and was indeed ruled unlawful by the WTO in 2000.

The United States is one of only two more economically developed countries that have an exemption in place for playing music in bars, restaurants and retail establishments by means of radio or TV. The study, conducted by the independent consulting agency PMP Conseil, includes a wide survey of US bars, restaurants and retail establishments to gauge their use of music, and the effect of the exemption on revenues for authors in Europe and the US. With yearly losses estimated at well over $150 million for U.S. and EU rights holders, it is unquestionable that this exemption has an unacceptable negative impact on authors.

Véronique Desbrosses, General Manager of GESAC said: “the European Union and the United States are currently holding talks, although fragile, over trade agreements where the harm caused by this exemption needs to be raised and addressed. We expect this study to have a significant effect on the weight of the issue.”

Author and IMRO Chairman Keith Donald added: “we thank GESAC for undertaking this study and now call on the European Commission to take the necessary actions to put an end to this long-lasting harmful situation.”

A delegation of authors is set to meet the European Commission to present the findings of this new study, and to urge the European Union to pressure the United States into aligning its Copyright Act with the international treaties it has signed.

  • Read the full study here.
  • Download the infographic here.

Published on 08 November 2016