May 2013: From CRM to the Ivor Novello Awards.

Q&A with Véronique Desbrosses, General Manager of GESAC.

It has been a busy few weeks for GESAC, with the CRM Directive now gathering pace as the summer approaches. What update do you have on this?

At this advanced stage, we really are getting into the detail of this piece of legislation. The four technical committees who were selected for consultation have now drafted their opinions, so we have an overview of the direction they are heading in on this.

Overall, what we are looking for now is a compromise that serves the interests of all stakeholders, while adequately safeguarding the interests of authors and composers. We trust that Marielle Gallo, who is steering this piece of legislation through Parliament, will be able to work through the various amendments that are being made and piece together a text that is both pragmatic and effective.

Mrs Gallo’s Draft Report can be assessed as an improvement to the original draft Directive in many aspects. However we believe that it still requires further improvement on certain key issues for creators. We are explaining these to Mrs Gallo and other MEPs and hope they can be reflected in her final considerations.

We are pleased with the stance taken by the draft opinions of INTA (International trade) and ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy) in many aspects. In particular, we are pleased that INTA has demonstrated its appreciation of how important it is to include non-EU societies in the scope of the Directive and ITRE’s Rapporteur addressed some very crucial elements to boost multi-territorial licensing and to ensure the access of small and medium sized repertoires to the multi-territory licensing market.

On the other hand, the draft opinions of the IMCO (Internal Market and Consumer Protection) and CULT (Culture) committees are less positive. We were particularly disappointed to learn that the CULT committee has not properly addressed the issue of cultural diversity and we made suggestions to improve these elements of the proposal. In our view, there is indeed room for improvement here: the final directive must ensure that small and medium-sized repertoires have the same market access as larger repertoires.

The recent hearings have also been a valuable chance to hear from creators on their points of view in this debate. Those we heard from confirmed our point of view that exclusivity of assignment is absolutely fundamental for protecting creators from big industry players, ensuring both their livelihoods and the cultural diversity of Europe.

We take on board that the Greens are keen to allow rightsholders to grant creative commons, and we emphasise that the principle of exclusivity does not preclude this.


What work is going on in relation to the draft Directive beyond the European Parliament?

Work being done on the Directive at member state level is progressing fast and theIrish Presidency aims at having a new compromise text by the end of their period. In early September the Council, Parliament and Commission are expected to meet to carve out a common text that is an even compromise of their three positions.


In other news, last week you attended the Ivor Novello Awards – an annual celebration of excellent music writing in the UK. How did that go?

It was great! Now in their 58th year, the ‘Ivors’ really are at the heart of the music industry as they are chosen by songwriters and composers. For me, it was a delight to see real artists together in one room and the whole event bore testament to the dynamic and creative environment in which music is being made now in the UK.