YouTube, its place in the music ecosystem and the so-called value-gap were issues dissected and studied under the microscope during a series of scholarly panel discussions in central London.

Figures from the European Commission and Parliament and the British music biz took part in the sessions late last week, which were pitched as an exploration of copyright reform and the “transfer of value” and held under the banner ‘PRS Explores: EU Copyright Reform.’

Speakers drilled deep into proposed changes to copyright law in the digital age put forward last September by the European Commission. Those changes, advocates say, would go some way to correcting the miniscule royalties which filter down to creators from the online services which host their music. But not everyone is buying it.

As legislators mull over updates to the EU Copyright Directive, UK Music Chairman Andy Heath warned Europeans could be in for an era of “cultural barbarism,” surely a buzzphrase which begs to bounce around the industry for the foreseeable future.

“It would be disastrous for civilisation,” were the industry’s pleas not headed, he added. “I cannot believe that any parliamentarians arguing for [safe harbour] would expect to go into the butchers and get free meat. Where does their intellectual journey go from that position to the one that everything should be free on the internet? It’s asinine and it’s infantile. I am shocked that there is [even] a debate.”