The right answer to the challenges faced by European authors’ societies?
On July 11, the European Commission laid out plans to fix harmonized rules on collective rights management societies in Europe, devising incentives to enhance their transparency and efficiency. The focus of the proposal is two-fold: first, it aims to improve the governance of collective rights management societies by strengthening their reporting obligations and boosting right holders’ control over their activities. It also aims to facilitate the cross-border, multi repertoire licensing of music for online use in Europe.
We’ve waited a long time for this proposal – and we’re happy to have something on paper. But does the draft Directive in its current form answers the needs of authors’ societies? We are not so sure.
We welcome the intention from the EU Commission to fix common standards on transparency. They are important for enhancing trust and confidence in collective management societies. The proposal goes hand in hand with the efforts we’re already making to improve our efficiency. In some instances, our own codes of conduct even surpass the standards proposed by the Commission.
What’s more, a common legal framework would help us do our job, enabling music authors’ societies to pool rights together and offer the largest possible repertoire for cross-border digital uses from a minimum number of entry points.
But the text as it stands is sometimes unclear and ambiguous. It also falls short in some areas. For example, numerous provisions are based on company laws, without taking into consideration the specificity of collective rights management societies which are not commercial entities or firms but not- for-profit organisations in the cultural sector. Members of those entities are not shareholders but creators, artists and rights holders.
The initiative of the Commission is “the route to building further confidence in collective management”, and – with the necessary improvements – has the potential to bring about real positive change for both consumers and cultural diversity in Europe.
Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll work with the institutions to perfect its current form, making sure it does support the existing improvements being undertaken by collective rights management societies across the EU and fits squarely with the needs of creators, consumers and service providers.