Cloud services: good for creators, good for fans.

GESAC follows all discussions related to the cloud with great attention and earlier this month took part in the Forum Europe Cloud Computing conference. The conference gathered European and international experts on cloud computing services as well as high level politicians from Europe and around the world.

One of the sessions was dedicated to copyright and its relation with cloud services. GESAC pointed out that for artists the cloud holds much promise. They have ever more access to markets that are geographically broader and more diverse than ever seemed possible: not only is this good for their careers, is it also good for their livelihoods as it offers greater opportunity for them to generate revenue for the use of their works.

Many of the most popular cloud-based services – Spotify, Deezer and iCloud – are now household names. But the existing offering is just the tip of the iceberg: we predict that all sorts of different services will be developed as technologies progress and user demands evolve.

Of course, to work effectively and fairly cloud services must balance out ease and flexibility for consumers with fair payment for creators via the adequate protection for their works. This can be done in a variety of ways, and will invariably depend on the specific service provided and how it works. The overriding priority is that the relevant rights are cleared for the territory in which the service is available. Without this assurance, cloud services’ great potential as a practical and useful means of handling services that are delivered across territories cannot be delivered. The territory can be one country, a region, all Europe or the world.

In that sense, authors’ societies are instrumental in delivering such licences on a cross-border basis. It is also crucial that the societies have a reliable legal framework to efficiently deliver multi-repertoire and cross-border licences. GESAC supports the model proposed by the CRM Directive for online ‘multi-territorial licensing of authors’ rights in musical works, but wants to ensure that a flexible and efficient cooperation between the societies to deliver multi-repertoire and multi-territory licences will be included in the text and that small and medium sized repertoires are sufficiently protected and their equal access to multi-territory licensing market is guaranteed.

Cloud services are diverse and some of them allow people to access their content on different devices and to make private copy on such devices. In those cases, such private copying made by the consumers on their devices would be subject to applicable rules relating private copying exception and fair compensation as well. This important aspect for authors’ remuneration should not be forgotten.

We regret however that cloud-based music services are currently limited only to certain countries due to business considerations of those services in terms of keeping the impulse of local audiences, national advertising revenues, difficulty to cope with the competition with illegal services, problems relating to electronic micro payment structures, etc. Author societies are ready to deliver the licences needed by these services and interested in seeing more of them.