Top Rapper Wyclef Jean in last minute appeal to MEPs over EU copyright directive

Just two days before a crucial European Parliament vote on the future of internet, world famous artist Wyclef Jean is urging European politicians not to tear down the internet, and argues that musicians are “collectively better off financially and promotionally because of internet platforms”.

“The solution to the challenges of the Internet isn’t to tear it down, it’s to build on top of it. There are too many fingers being pointed and too few productive conversations.” said Wyclef Jean.

Speaking ahead of a final vote on the Copyright Directive on Wednesday [12 September], which could force internet platforms to introduce upload filters and censor content, Wyclef argues that MEPs should reject arguments that platforms like Soundcloud, Vimeo and YouTube create a ‘value gap’ for creators, and see that musicians and internet service providers can “team up and make the music community better for everyone”.

Artists under the collective Create.Refresh join Wyclef Jean’s appeal to MEPs to embrace and improve the internet, rather than attempt to block and hinder it.

“The Copyright Directive will force online platforms to censor freedom of expression online under the guise of protecting artists. 

"But Wyclef Jean’s experience, and that of thousands of other creators across Europe, shows that we have more to gain from working together with platforms, rather than standing in the way of progress” ” said Julian Stark, a writer and film director who is part of the Create.Refresh campaign.

“We thank Wyclef Jean for standing up against this damaging legislation. Whether intended, or not, this law will prevent the uploading and sharing of content online and we ask MEPs to reject it now,”

This week’s vote on the copyright directive presents a threat to the open internet as we know it. Creators, artists and musicians risk having their ability to remix, remake and create heavily restricted by draconian laws designed to protect these very artists. Create.Refresh, and Wyclef Jean, are campaigning for laws that will help artists to make more money and help fans make and share more music.

Meanwhile, Agence France-Presse’s war correspondent Sammy Ketz will this week speak in Strasbourg at a press conference under the theme "Copyright and neighbouring rights: Europe’s free press at risk" together with MEPs Virginie Rozière (S&D, FR) and Helga Trüpel (Greens/EFA, DE) at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the eve of a decisive vote in plenary on the copyright reform.

Ketz recently published a tribune on the issue. At stake is the freedom of the press because when newspapers run out of journalists, that freedom will be gone”, he writes, calling Google, Facebook and other internet giants to reimburse the media for the editorial content that they are currently using for free

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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