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Beatles star Sir Paul McCartney wrote a letter to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) today urging them to support a new copyright bill.

Ahead of a key vote on Thursday, McCartney asked MEPs to back the copyright directive which proponents say will help protect publishers and creators.

Opponents of the bill say it is a threat to the future of the internet as we know it.

Read more: DEBATE: Will the EU copyright reform break the internet?

The most controversial proposal in the new directive is contained in article 13 which says that websites must “take appropriate and proportionate measures” to make sure user uploaded content complies with copyright laws.

This could mean sites such as YouTube would have to vet user uploaded content or face hefty penalties.

The directive has received enthusiastic support from the music industry as a means to close the “value gap”, that is the amount returned to artists by sites such as Youtube compared to the revenue that they generate for those platforms.

In his letter McCartney wrote that “the value gap jeopardizes the music ecosystem”.

Read more: EU approves controversial Copyright Directive, despite major tech backlash

“We need an internet that is fair and sustainable for all. But today some user upload content platforms refuse to compensate artists and all music creators fairly for their work, while they exploit it for their own profit,” he continued.

The music industry points to the vast difference between the amount returned to music rights holders by advertising supported sites like Youtube compared to subscription sites like Spotify.

Music industry body International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said that in 2015 subscription services generated an estimated $2bn (£1.5bn) from just 68m users, while advertising supported services returned just $634m to rights holders from 900m users.

Critics, who include world wide web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, say that the directive would turn the internet into “a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users”.

Tech giants such as YouTube and Google have also lobbied hard against the bill.

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