- 04 Feb 20
Ahead of General Election 2020, the Irish musician/actor weighs in on the Copyright Directive debate.
With just four days to go until the general election, the major political parties' arts policies are coming under increased scrutiny. Taking to Twitter, The Stunning frontman Steve Wall has called specific attention to Sinn Féin's position on the Copyright Directive – which recognises the creative and cultural value of copyright and artistic works.
In March 2019, the European Parliament voted to adopt the directive, which was widely opposed by the major tech companies. The proposal for copyright reform in the internet age came after years of lobbying by European cultural industries, publishers and digital rights activists, and was adopted with 348 votes in favour, and 274 against.
Steve Wall has noted that Sinn Féin's Liadh Ní Riada and Matt Carthy were among the MEPs who voted against the Copyright Directive.
"@LiadhNiRiadaMEP told me she was totally pro artist because of her family heritage but was obviously instructed by her bosses to vote against it," Wall remarks. "Mary Lou, can you tell us why? Google etc spread lies that it would affect freedom of the internet when in fact it protects artists like me."
...by her bosses to vote against it. As did @mattcarthy. Mary Lou, can you tell us why? Google etc spread lies that it would affect freedom of the internet when in fact it protects artists like me. @IMROireland @MaryLouMcDonald @sinnfeinireland #GE2020
— Steve Wall (@stevethewall) February 4, 2020
Wall previously called out Sinn Féin's stance on the directive over Twitter in 2018:
But Matt, you voted against the Copyright Directive did you not? Is that the Sinn Fein stance?
— Steve Wall (@stevethewall) September 13, 2018
Sinn Féin's manifesto fails to explicitly acknowledge the party's position on the Copyright Directive – but does commit to increasing annual funding for the Arts Council by €20 million. Fianna Fáil is the only party that explicitly mentions support for the directive in its manifesto. For IMRO's handy guide to Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour, People Before Profit, the Social Democrats and the Green Party's stance on everything from copyright to night-time entertainment, see here.
You can also revisit Stuart Clark's 2019 interview with IMRO CEO Victor Finn, in which he discusses IMRO's pivotal role in getting the EU to adopt the Copyright Directive here.
See our full report on the NCFA's National Arts Hustings in the new issue of Hot Press, out this Thursday.