Copyright management societies spell out expectations
By Nathalie Vandystadt | Wednesday 06 June 2012
With the European Commission set to present long-awaited legislative proposals, in late July, on reform of collective management of copyright in the EU, consumer groups and rights users are teaming up to take the initiative. Telecoms operators, cable operators, televisions, radios, restaurants and cafés, and consumer associations have outlined four “principles” they say should be imposed on all European copyright management societies.
- Collective rights management bodies should be obliged to contract with all rights holders and all interested users
- They should have to provide transparent information on the service provided and price criteria so that users know precisely what the mandate entrusted to the collective rights management body consists of and how copyright payments are calculated
- There should be a common framework for rules on accounting and bookkeeping, as well as independent authorisation and supervision in each member state to guarantee the quality and efficiency of rights management
- Practical tools should be put in place to solve possible disputes over rights clearance while avoiding lengthy and costly procedures.
The signatories would like to see these principles applied both online and offline.
For the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC), “these principles are common sense and some of them are already applied,” said Véronique Desbrosses, the organisation’s secretary-general.
GESAC sees no inconvenience with the first principle as it is formulated, arguing that its members “do not discriminate among rights users”. The rules differ, however, for online and offline environments. On the internet, at the European Commission’s initiative, rights societies have had to adapt and provide expolitation rights on their national repertoire, including beyond their borders. Offline rights can concern the global repertoire, but cannot cross borders. A French nightclub, for example, cannot go in search of rights on the global repertoire in Germany. GESAC members want to keep this situation and are opposed to any type of forum shopping where users would play on competition between rights societies based in different EU states to obtain better rates.
The second and third principles do not present any problems either, according to Desbrosses, who has only a slight reservation on the third, given national particulars for presenting accounts, “but amounts must be comparable from one country to the next”. For the fourth principle, which GESAC has always approved, the legal specifics of each country should be taken into account, she concludes.