Well, that was a waste of time and effort.
Or, at least, that’s what the music business executives and artists who campaigned tirelessly for the European Copyright Directive could have been excused for thinking, as Nigel Adams (pictured) casually noted the government has no plans to actually implement it.
After the UK's exit from the European Union, it has no obligation to, of course. That would make the Directive's protection for rights-holders – not to mention the other measures in the legislation that would benefit music creatives – the first casualty of Brexit. Hopefully it won’t be an indicator of how tough life could become for musicians outside of the protective umbrella of the EU.
After our much-delayed exit on January 31, that is precisely where find ourselves and there’s a lot of work to be done to ensure British music can still easily travel beyond Dover. Operating on a non-level playing field with the rest of Europe, without the longed-for measures contained within the Copyright Directive, is not going to help with that. And who knows what the likes of Google, who campaigned vigorously against the Copyright Directive, will make of the latest developments in the UK.
Is the Copyright Directive's protection for rights-holders the first casualty of Brexit?
The current transition period, which lasts only until the end of 2020, is going to be crucial for the biz to sort out its priorities and strategies at a time when most politicians will think they have bigger fish to fry.
So it’s important that the ones who are engaged with the industry step up. Adams, Minister Of State for Sport, Media & Creative Industries, provoked a hostile reaction on social media when he called for artists to be allowed freedom of movement post-EU membership, despite him campaigning for Brexit. But at least that suggested he is prepared to lobby for things that might not necessarily be popular further along the corridors of power.
It’s to be hoped he can extend that approach to ensuring the UK has copyright legislation that’s at least the equal of the Directive, and help keep British music's export business booming. Adams is widely regarded as a friend of the industry. Now would be a good time to prove it.