Press release

European agreement set to boost UK’s creative industries

Online music services and the UK’s thriving creative sector will be able to trade more easily across Europe from today (20 February 2014).

The Collective Rights Management Directive, agreed by the European Council, will simplify the licensing process, saving businesses time and money and making it easier for them to operate right across Europe.

The agreement is set to benefit a thriving UK industry which accounts for 1.6 million jobs and more than 5% of the UK economy.

Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger said:

The UK has a world class music sector which supports thousands of jobs across the country. The very fact that we are 1 of only 2 net exporters of music in Europe underlines its importance.

This deal should be seen as a positive step taken by the European Commission and I welcome this agreement. By simplifying cross-border licenses we are making sure that we continue to do all we can to support this thriving industry.

The UK welcomes the changes, which will mean the process for licensing music across the EU will be more efficient. This should help improve access to legitimate EU-wide online music services and will also introduce minimum standards of conduct for all EU collecting societies - the bodies that license copyright and collect royalties.

Currently an online music provider, wanting to set up a cross-border music service, has to obtain licences from multiple collecting societies in different member states. The changes introduced today will make it possible to go to fewer, and in some cases a single collecting society, making licensing more efficient.

The new rules on creative rights management were agreed by EU industry ministers at a meeting in Brussels today (20 February 2014). The meeting, which was attended by UK Trade and Investment Minister Lord Livingston, also discussed what the EU needs to do to create an industry-friendly environment in Europe. The UK believes that more needs to be to reform the single market and cut EU red tape. EU leaders will discuss Europe’s industrial policy at a summit in Brussels at the end of March 2014.

Notes to editors

  1. The European Commission published the draft directive in July 2012. The policy is integral to the Commission’s 2010 Communication on the Digital Agenda for Europe and the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is part of a set of measures aimed at facilitating the licensing of rights and the access to digital content, thereby facilitating the development of the legal and cross-border offer of online products and services.
  2. The European Parliament adopted its position at first reading on 4 February 2014, adopting 1 amendment to the Commission proposal. The amendment reflects the compromise agreement reached between the Council, Commission and the Parliament (5906/14). The dossier was approved by the Council on 20 February 2014.
  3. The Prime Minister’s letter on EU growth signed with 11 other EU leaders in February 2012 included a call for EU action to simplify licensing and to build an efficient framework for copyright as part of a drive towards the completion of a digital single market by 2015.
  4. The GVA of UK Creative Industries was £71.4 billion in 2012 and accounted for 5.2% of the UK Economy. The Creative Industries accounted for 1.68 million jobs in 2012, 5.6% of the total number of jobs in the UK. Source: Creative Industries Economic Estimates statistical release, January 2014 version.
  5. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:
  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.