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UK Music Puts Forth Five-Point Policy Manifesto Ahead of Elections

20th February 2015

With a general election set to take place in the United Kingdom May 7, umbrella trade body UK Music has issued an industry wide manifesto to ensure that the challenges facing the music industry don’t fall off the political agenda.

Aimed at all political parties and policy makers, the manifesto identifies five priority areas for the next Government to focus on in order to maintain the industry’s £3.8 billion ($5.9 billion) contribution to the U.K. economy.

The first and arguably foremost point is for a “strong copyright framework,” in particular that Parliament keeps any changes to copyright legislation made under the current coalition government under review. UK Music additionally calls on politicians to fund continued research into online infringement and that “if internet intermediaries do not take reasonable steps to support the legal economy… bring forward legislation to require search engines to take action where they have knowledge that a site is operating illegally.”

The second recommendation is for “access to finance and fiscal incentives,” most notably tax breaks for the music industry, putting the business “on a level playing field with other parts of the creative sector.” The umbrella body also petitions whoever is in 10 Downing Street come May 8 to maintain funding for existing schemes and start-up loans that benefit the industry.

Other key issues identified by UK Music include increased support for music education and business skills investment, beginning at the primary school level, and for policy makers to recognize and support an “international growth strategy,” including working with EU partners to uphold the free movement of labour — a vital component of touring and international collaboration.

According to UK Music figures, music exports contribute £2.2 billion ($3.4 billion) annually to the country’s economy. To help protect and build future export revenues, the organization calls on British power brokers “to ensure that trade discussions and negotiations led by the EU protect reciprocal rights in music” and work with other international jurisdictions to simplify performance visas.

The manifesto’s fifth and final recommendation is for “better regulation based on good evidence,” specifically that the British government works “with industry to help find technological solutions to the secondary ticketing market.” Tucked away within this section of the document there is also an attack on the use of non-disclosure agreements between technology companies and rights holders when striking licensing deals that have “hindered transparent reporting to creators.”

“As we approach 7th May, when the country will decide the political future of our nation for the next five years, we need to ensure that the next Government will continue to enable and improve growth in our sector,” said Andy Heath, chairman of UK Music, in the manifesto introduction. He added: “Fundamentally, we need the next Government to support music businesses who rely on a strong copyright regime.”

Read more on the Billboard website