My Week: from CRM to ‘Licenses to Europe’

In the first in a series of debriefings, Véronique Desbrosses, general manager of GESAC, shares her thoughts on the policy discussions affecting author societies across Europe. GESAC is the association of European author societies which founded this web platform.

Last week was a busy time for GESAC – what was the highlight for you?  

There were two crucial events for us last week, both in the European Parliament. The first was a lunch debate that brought authors together with the CEOs of their author societies and  MEPs. The aim of the event was to demonstrate the close ties that exist between authors and their societies and to highlight the crucial function that author societies continue to serve.

It also gave the MEPs and assistants present the chance to question the societies on the issues that really concern them.

We were pleased with the interest the Parliament is clearly taking in the issues surrounding the collective rights management dossier, and hope the event clarified any outstanding concerns. You can read more about the event here.

The second highlight was certainly our participation in a series of stakeholder meetings led by Mrs Marielle Gallo, the MEP who is steering the collective rights management proposal through Parliament. You can find the full calendar for the legislation here.

What are the priorities that you’ll be focusing on in the months to come?  

Well, of course the collective rights management proposal is a major priority for us. The legislation is now on track and debate will continue within the European institutions. We’ll continue to meet with Parliament as it carves out its position, making sure our point of view is taken into account. As we’ve said from the start, the Commission did a good job in drafting their proposal that was published back in July, but it’s far from perfect. What we’re aiming to do now is to iron out some of its gaps to ensure a pragmatic and realistic final draft.

We’ll also be heavily involved with ‘Licences for Europe’, a Commission initiative to address the concrete problems in the market linked to copyright. GESAC is a member of all four working groups and activities are already underway.  Last Friday, group one – ‘Cross-border access and the portability of services’ – met in Brussels.  Stefania Ercolani, an expert from SIAE, was there to give GESAC’s view on the importance of flexibility in cross-border licensing and the role of collective management societies – author societies – as one stop shops.

Of course, our work on the collective rights management proposal and Licences for Europe share the same overarching aim: to create an environment in which creators can continue their work, and to demonstrate the invaluable part that author societies have to play in Europe’s creative economy.

If you had one wish for 2013, what would it be?  

With Parliamentary elections ahead of us in 2014 we need to make as much head-way on the Collective Rights Management Proposal as we can. For GESAC, that means coming up with concrete solutions that demonstrate that author societies are making an invaluable contribution to the debate.

We’re at the start of a new week – what’s in the agenda for you?

We’ve another busy week in store. We have two working group meetings for Licenses for Europe and a day of meetings with the Parliament and the Commission on Wednesday.

On Thursday, we’ll be speaking at an event on cloud computing – and you can read all about that in an article that follows up from the event on this site.

Finally, on Friday we have brainstorming session between GESAC experts from across Europe. A regular fixture in our calendar, the session is an opportunity to share views and establish common positions on various themes. This group played an instrumental role in carving out GESAC’s position on a number of issues, so the meetings are clearly fruitful!

Photo: Véronique at last Tuesday’s event in the European Parliament