Conference of the CISAC European Committee: first day

The opening of the Сonference of the European Committee of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers of CISAC was held on April 5, 2017 at the National Hotel in Moscow. The Сonference was attended by more than 100 participants from Europe, USA and other countries. The guests were welcomed by the Chairman of the CISAC European Commission, Jose Jorge Letria, Director General of the Russian Authors’ Society, Maksim Dmitriev and General Director of the RUR, Andrey Krichevsky.

The Conference from the Russian side was opened by Director of the Department of Science and Technologies of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Sergey Matveev. He spoke about the inevitability of the globalization and consolidation processes, including in the field of management and protection of copyright, and also noted the need to find a new balance between rightholders and society. The challenges created by new technologies can only be solved by joint efforts. “The attitude towards the concept of authorship is changing,” – Sergey Matveyev said. – “Sometimes a person who used the work in an unusual way can be considered the author. And the bureaucracy does not always keep up with these changes.”

Director General of the RAO, Maksim Dmitriev spoke in his speech about the difficulties that the RAO has experienced in recent years, about the problems that the organization had to face. “It’s important to understand,” – Maksim Dmitriev said, – “that the RAO leadership has changed so recently, I have been director for only three months, and the work of the former leadership was tainted by corruption scandals and ineffective management”.

Maksim Dmitriev also reported that based on the results of an independent audit of the royalties distribution in the RAO, systemic violations were detected, namely, significant amounts of remuneration were manually charged to a limited list of little-known works. The head of the RAO drew the attention of the CISAC leadership to the fact that in May 2016 the regional representative of the CISAC, Mitko Chatalbashev conducted a similar audit in the RAO, based on the results of which he concluded that the RAO distribution procedures comply with the standards and professional rules of the CISAC.

“We would like to be understood correctly: we do not question cooperation with the CISAC. RAO, being a member of the CISAC, will continue to actively participate in the activities of this organization. We recognize all the key principles declared by the copyright community and, first of all, transparency. Any permanent member of the CISAC has the right not only to vote, but also to be heard. In this regard, we ask the leadership of the organization to consider the establishment of a special body, which will become a new member of the CISAC, dealing with the development of copyright societies in the eastern part of the European Region”, – Maksim Dmitriev addressed the audience.

Director General of the RAO assured the conference participants that despite a very short period of time since the assignment of the new management of the RAO, there is already a clear understanding of the exact steps that are to be taken not only to preserve the RAO and the institution of collective management of rights in Russia, but also to improve it.

Director General of the RUR, Andrey Krichevsky in his report noted that “intellectual property, as a system for the transit of a new basic economic resource – creativity – into economic turnover, is now gaining key importance.” Speaking about the need to use digital products and services in the work of collective management organizations, Andrey Krichevsky presented the initiative to create an online platform, the so-called exchange of rights, for licensing the use of musical works, performances and phonograms, as an example. In the opinion of the head of the RUR, a specialized digital platform or intellectual property exchange “should be the next stage in the development of a collective management system for copyright and related rights. Such a decision will make the disposal of rights and income easy, unburdensome and accessible throughout the whole of Russia and the world.

Andrey Krichevsky noted that the Russian organizations on collective management of rights already have a positive experience in creating digital products for working with users. In particular, the creation of a digital player, which, being installed in any public place, provides the users with access to the content placed by the rightholders, allows them to create their own playlists, takes into account usage statistics and transfers it to the rights management organization, has been a major breakthrough. As a result of the introduction of this service, the number of new contracting users has almost doubled in just 6 months, and the amount of collected fees has increased by almost 20%.

Director General of the UPRAVIS, Aleksandr Sukhotin began his speech with a definition of the legal foundations of the society’s activities. UPRAVIS is the only organization that has state accreditation for exercising the resale royalty right to all authors, who have or have not concluded management contracts with it. When planning its development, UPRAVIS is forced to act taking into account the imperfect legislation, as well as insufficient regulation of the good business practices in the field of copyright and related rights.

Vice Chairman of the CISAC board of directors Javier Gutierrez Vicien, who noted the preservation of the solidarity spirit in the field of protection of authors’ rights, the representative of the CISAC legal department Gabor Faldudi, who acquainted the audience with the latest decisions of the European Court of Copyright, the senior legal adviser of the CISAC Constance Errman, Senior Vice President on the issues of Global Policy in BMI, Anne Sweeney, Deputy Director General of Mail.RuGroup, Executive Director of VKontakte LLC Dmitry Sergeev and CEO of BUMA / STEMRA (Netherlands) Vimvan Limpt also made their presentations.

Dmitry Sergeev briefly told foreign participants about the “Vkontakte” social network, noting that in Russia the VK network is six times larger than Facebook – Vkontakte is a unique platform with more than 100,000,000 users. VK is an open platform for free download of content. At the same time, Vkontakte was originally created as a platform for the upload and exchange of primarily music content. Dmitry Sergeev also said that the VK network plans to introduce a “revolutionary solution in the field of monetization of music content” within the next three months. The essence of this decision is that the social network will create new sources of monetization for rightholders.

CEO of BUMA / STEMRA (Netherlands) Vimvan Limpt stated: “We live at a time when the paradigm should change, when time demands change. In the future, creative spirit, inspiration, ethics will be even more valuable, because machines can not replace the man in these aspects. The future is in the new technologies invented by man. And the future begins here”.

In his report, Vimvan Limpt focused on the relationship between creative products and technologies that serve these products. 25 years ago we started to share music, 11 years ago we began to use streaming, and as a result, control over downloads has become very difficult. Changes in technology have entailed dramatic changes in the structure of show business. Earlier singers did concerts in support of albums, and now they release albums in support of concerts.

Vimvan Limpt noted the third level of technology development after digital and streaming – artificial intelligence. Today, the process of making compositions with the participation of artificial intelligence, in fact generated by robots on the computer, has already begun. Participants of the conference were shown a musical track created in a Sony laboratory. It is not known in which direction the use of such technologies will develop and what changes in the understanding of copyright this will entail. One thing is already known for certain – a change in the system of author’s remuneration payments in the transition to the artificial intelligence use in creating music is inevitable. Vimvan Limpt called for joint efforts in the discussion and development of an overall strategy for the regulation of copyright. His report caused a particularly emotional discussion.

The first working day of the conference ended with a festive evening in the Igor Butman Jazz Club. Igor Butman, President of the Authors’ Council of the RAO, greeted the guests in Moscow: “For the second time in its history, RAO became a partner of the CISAC for the organization and holding of the event, bringing together key copyright management organizations in Europe and beyond. We are happy to receive our colleagues in Moscow!”. Enchanting performance of Igor Butman and his quartet, as well as of special guests – singer Fantine, pianist Nikolai Levinovsky and Polish jazz trio ConfusionProject – was a real gift for the guests.