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EDRi comments on the collective rights management draft directive

21 November, 2012

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: EDRi zur geplanten Richtlinie über kollektive Rechteverwertung

On 11 July 2012, the European Commission published a proposal for a Directive on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online uses in the internal market. EDRi warmly welcomes the Commission's willingness to ensure the development of the European Single Market.

The proposal focuses on the transparency and improvement of: i) citizens' access to cultural content and services, ii) access to licences for commercial users and iii) remuneration and promotion of their works for creators.

EDRi wholeheartedly agrees with the objectives pursued by the European Commission: better governance and greater transparency for collecting societies adaptation of the licensing system to the digital era and reducing barriers to the Single Market by encouraging and facilitating multi-territorial licensing. This will benefit not only the creators but also service providers, innovators and end users.

The proposal has two aspects. The first part of the Directive deals with the collecting societies to ensure better governance and transparency, and the second part is supposed to encourage and facilitate multi-territorial licences for musical works. Although EDRi generally agrees with the objectives of the proposal, there are still major loopholes in the current proposal, and this is regrettable.

While the proposal aims to achieve better governance, greater transparency and competition, it does not solve the lack of freedom of choice for artists. More flexibility should be allowed to improve the potential to adapt to technological and market change that would give creators genuine freedom of choice.

EDRi believes that some terms should be clearly defined, such as transparency, diligence and efficiency of governance, because the alternative is legal uncertainty and a failure to achieve the goal of the proposal. Moreover, the relationship between collecting societies and commercial users also needs to be rebalanced. The current wording creates an unbalanced situation that would affect the services provided and would have a negative impact on the attractiveness and availability of legal offers.

EDRi regrets the reference in the proposal to “a right to compensation” that appears to be an implicit reference to private copy levies. This mixes not only two different issues but it also creates confusion while adding nothing.

Finally, concerning collecting societies themselves, EDRi foresees a significant loophole concerning liability and sanctions. There is a lack of ambition in seeking to ensure effective enforcement and good legislation is nothing without good enforcement.

Concerning the second aspect of the proposal, EDRi welcomes the focus on multi-territorial licences as it is an essential instrument to achieve the European Single Market. However, EDRi deplores the lack of clarity of music licensing for audiovisual services and the lack of transparency regarding repertoires. EDRi would also like to see a more innovation friendly framework in the proposal. Indeed, the proposal does not solve the problem of the time consuming and costly negotiations, which hold back the launch of new and innovative services. The proposal does not offer any solution for jurisdiction problems that could arise. EDRi believes that it is a cross-border issue that must be dealt effectively on a European level.

All in all, EDRi welcomes the proposal as it is the right step to an effective European Single Market, but thinks that there is significant room for improvement to allow better harmonisation and greater enforcement.

The proposal is currently being discussed in the European Parliament. The lead Committee is JURI and the ITRE, IMCO and CULT Committees will also deliver opinions. EDRi hopes that the Members of the European Parliament will improve the proposed text to ensure a successful harmonisation.

EDRi's initial comments

Directive on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online uses in the internal market (11.07.2012)

(Contribution by Marie Humeau - EDRi)



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