International experts supported the TAG Compendium at a regional seminar in Moscow

Regional seminar “Collective management of copyright and related rights. Transparency, responsibility and regulation (TAG) in collective management “was held in Moscow on June 2, 2016. The organizers of the event were the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent) and the Russian Union of Rightholders (RUR) with the participation of the InterMedia Information Agency.

The agreement to hold this seminar in Moscow was reached in April 2016 at the International Conference “Global Digital Content Market” in Geneva – then the decision was made by the President of the Council of the Russian Union of Rightholders (RUR), Nikita Mikhalkov and representatives of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The seminar, aimed at providing a deeper and more detailed understanding of the role of collective management of copyright and related rights, was attended by leading foreign and domestic experts in the protection of copyright and related rights, including representatives of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Russian State Academy of Intellectual Property (RGAIS), the Russian Union of Rightholders (RUR), Russian Organization for Intellectual Property (VOIS), the Partnership for the Protection and Management of Rights in the Field of Art (UPRAVIS), the National Music Publishing House (NMI), experts and heads of societies for collective management of rights from Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan.

In the second day of the event, TAG of Excellence (TAG – Transparency, Accountability, Governance), designed to improve the system of collective management of copyright and related rights and provide support to societies for collective management around the world was presented. The directions of the project, its perspectives and role in the world industry were announced.

“Components of the TAG are transparency, accountability and governance,” — Deputy Director and Head of the Creative Industries Section of the Culture and Creative Industry Sector of WIPO, Dimiter Ganchev explained. — “This is a universal project, which remains relevant for any country. It emphasizes the collective management of copyright and related rights in all areas and all types of repertoire.”

Copyright today is an integral part of public discourse. In turn, the society needs more transparency. TAG Compendium (collection of recommendations), compiled specifically in this regard by the WIPO experts and their colleagues, contains ten structured sections with illustrative examples. The Compendium provides information on organizations for collective management of rights (OKUP) and their activities, highlights specific issues of interaction between the OKUPs, with members of the OKUPs, users, the state and public. The compilation is also the basis for the development of educational and training programs in the field of collective management of rights.

The transparency, accountability and governance was revealed in detail by Mihai Fichor (СЕЕСА — Central and Eastern European Alliance for Copyright), Chris Markic (AGICOA — International Association of Organizations for the Collective Management of Audiovisual Rights), Laurie Rehardt (IFPI — International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) and Olav Stockkmo (IFRRO — International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations).

The participants of the discussion stressed that the TAG does not proclaim its goal to replace existing national legal acts in the field of collective management of rights, but aims to supplement and improve the principles of the topical OKUP activities. According to Mr. Markic, as a result of the joint work, the OKUPs will have to determine the standards of action and follow them in the future. He also stressed that the national legislation of each country needs an individual approach taking into account the specifics of the country.

“Today, retransmission royalties are collected not by producers, but by broadcasters,” — he drew attention to a common problem. — “The same thing with cable broadcasting. As a result, content producers are suspended, turning into ordinary employees working under contract. Ultimately, this damages the authors, who must receive money in order to continue their creative work. We are working on this issue and are trying to improve the system so that the producers retain their rights and opportunities.”

IFRRO Secretary General Olav Stockkmo noted that the role of OKUPs in the world industry has significantly increased in recent years.

“The Compendium is now urgently needed to help achieve progress and improve the professionalism and performance of the OKUPs. We hope that the TAG initiative will help develop affordable tools that will become a way for users to interact with copyright holders.”

IFPI representative Lauri Rechardt also spoke positively about the project.

“We actively worked on the TAG Compendium together with rightholders and OKUPs, improving the work of our organizations. Naturally, we support the project and the enormous work that was done in the development of the Compendium. The TAG is an attempt to assemble the best practices around the world in this field,” — he said, adding that the Compendium is interesting not only for the representatives of the OKUPs, but also for regulators.

Mr. Rechardt also expressed interest in the development of IFPI activities in Russia.

“The Russian market is very attractive today, and we are considering the possibility of opening a regional office (the IFPI office in Russia worked since 1995, but was closed in 2010. – InterMedia’s note). The forecast of the industry development in Russia seems much more promising than a few years ago,” — he concluded.

The TAG Compendium has caused an emotional response among the representatives of the near abroad – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. According to Aleksey Bichurin, head of the Center for Collective Management of the National Center for Intellectual Property of the Republic of Belarus, it is very important that the initiative comes from the WIPO, the leading international organization in the field of copyright and related rights.

“The fact that TAG is aimed at complementing and improving existing practices raises the project to a higher level, and the need for it is obvious. I hope that we will have the opportunity and resources to maximize participation in the project in the future – I would very much like to contribute to its development,” — he said.

His colleagues agreed with him, recognizing that it is very important in countries where the sphere of collective management of rights is only developing to have competent leadership on its development issues.

Lauri Rechardt drew the attention of the audience to various approaches to the performance indicators of the OKUPs.

“Efficiency of the OKUPs is estimated, of course, by the level of remuneration fees. It should be remembered that all OKUP money belongs to the rightholders, and an OKUP has the right to receive a fair reward for the work on the collection and distribution organization. In this case, rightholders may decide to send the collected funds to other problems – for example, to combat piracy or other social problems,” — he explained.

Mr. Ganchev, in his turn, added that the effectiveness evaluation can be different – sometimes the assessment of the collection fee amount per one staff member of the OKUP is applied, and sometimes is the average fee for each of the OKUP members. There may be other ways of assessing the situation in each country.

Experts also touched upon the issue of state accreditation and regional sphere development. Mr. Fichor noted that he has acquainted himself with the concept of Global Licenses proposed in Russia and drew attention to some complex and not clearly understandable issues in it. The speaker stressed that the system should be very well thought out in detail for its successful functioning.

Returning to the main topic of the day, Mr. Rehardt noted that the most important issue in developing the TAG is to understand how its provisions are implemented in practice, and for this, the opinions of the interested parties are needed. He expressed the hope that the Compendium will serve as a guide for OKUPs and, possibly, as a source of inspiration. Having collected opinions, the TAG creators intend to process the information and reissue the Compendium taking into account the recommendations.

“The Compendium seems to be a useful tool that has helped our organizations evaluate and improve the management system based on it,” — Olav Stockkmo stated about TAG. — “This is exactly the tool needed to develop the governance structure, assess the current situation, identify benchmarks and improve performance.”

Speaking about the problems and issues of the sphere of collective management in Russia, the representative of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, Ksenia Miryasova reported on a number of measures undertaken by the Ministry to improve control over the OKUPs in Russia.

“To increase the level of transparency and openness of the OKUP activity, we propose to establish the maximum share of deductions made by the OKUP for their needs at the legislative level. We also propose an annual audit of accounting activities with subsequent publication of reports in the public domain. It is necessary to establish a standard for disclosure of data: to clearly understand and provide information to all interested parties on the manner, information and terms of the distribution of the funds collected.”

In addition, the Ministry plans to set up supervisory boards in OKUPs, which will include representatives of state bodies, rightholders, users and other representatives of the creative industry. Ms. Miryasova also proposed to initiate changes in the system related to the possibility of the participation of legal entities in the management of OKUPs.

At the conclusion of the seminar, representatives of two Russian accredited organizations – UPRAVIS and VOIS – told about the latest achievements in their activities.

On the example of the French artist Jean-François Mille’s painting “Anzhelius”, Director General of UPRAVIS, Aleksandr Sukhotin told about the resale royalty right, according to which artists and their heirs are entitled to money deductions for the resale of their works. In Russia, the law on the resale royalty right has been in force since 2008. The funds are paid through the company accredited by the state for collective management of rights — the UPRAVIS. The organization collects, distributes and pays royalties, represents the interests of resale royalty right holders in state institutions and courts, and also cooperates with international partners – similar organizations for the collective management of rights. Not all artists are aware of the existence of the resale royalty right, and the UPRAVIS regularly conducts conferences and round tables to solve this issue.

Yulia Ivanina (VOIS) told about new services, which were developed and implemented by the VOIS.

“2015 has become a landmark year for us. New innovative technical solutions were presented to improve the accuracy of distribution of awards between rightholders.”

The center of the new scheme are rightholders who have access to their personal accounts, and now each of them can find out by whom and when their phonograms were used and in what amount the remuneration is accrued at any convenient time. In addition, rightholders can personally deposit their phonograms in the system. The SUPR rights management system automatically collects and processes data subsequently used by the VOIS in the distribution of awards. A new service with background music for users allows business owners to use licensed music and automatically generate reports for the VOIS. It is possible to search for songs in the huge media library by various parameters using special filters. The base is constantly updated with new tracks. Users can either use ready-made playlists compiled by specialists, or create them independently from music of different styles and genres. User reports are sent to the automated system of remuneration distribution and, accordingly, to the personal account of the legal owner, where we can see the report for each phonogram.

“We are confident that the system will improve the quality of distribution and the overall level of work,” — Ms. Ivanina summed it up.

Mr. Rehardt has shown a keen interest in the Russian scheme of collective rights management and FonMix B2B service, asking a number of questions to representatives of the VOIS. He also touched upon the issue of the legal entities’ participation as members of OKUPs. The questions of the foreign guest were answered by the VOIS CEO, Andrey Krichevsky.

“In accordance with Russian law, the choice of the organizational and legal form is matter for the OKUPs to decide one. The majority of OKUPs in Russia are public associations, and their participation as legal entity members is not provided for. This issue was discussed in the context of state accreditation – in particular, the question arises whether it will be necessary to re-accredit in case of a change in the organizational and legal forms. The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation has made it clear that re-accreditation is not required. On behalf of the RUR, I can say that we will try to be pioneers in this matter and to reorganize ourselves so that members of the collective management society can be legal entities. I hope that other organizations will also follow this path after us.”

Mr. Krichevsky also explained the technology of the background music service.

“Traditionally, such activities belong to a separate sphere of the music business – these are music broadcast operators, royalty free music: covers, specially written melodies, that is, music of rather poor quality. Due to this, this business area has not developed much, including economically. However, this still poses a problem for holders of rights to popular music – their music is being forced out of shopping centers, cafes, bars, restaurants, and they are losing the market. FonMix will help fix this situation.”

The head of the VOIS noted that representatives of major Russian and international record companies took this idea with interest and enthusiasm at the presentation of the FonMix service.

“An important point is that it is a B2B service: it is clearly tied to the user’s agreement with the VOIS. This is a resource where the copyright owners upload their content and can adjust it, removing old tracks and uploading new ones. This presents numerous additional opportunities for marketing and most importantly, this is in fact the only way to provide reliable and massive reporting from users. The service also gives rightholders the opportunity to communicate directly with organizations using their music. We, in turn, try not to “interfere” in the process of interaction of the users with the copyright holders as much as possible and are very pleased that it finally became possible to straighten out the “twisted” system of such communication in the digital age.”

Progress in the activities of the VOIS was confirmed by clear statistics: over the past six years, the volume of payments has increased more than convincingly – sevenfold: in 2009, about 144 million RUB were collected, and by 2015, the authors’ fees amounted to more than 1 billion RUB, while the amount of real payments to legal owners reached 800 million RUB.

In conclusion, all participants of the seminar expressed their support for the idea of creating the TAG Compendium, expressing a common opinion that the role of collective management of intellectual rights will only grow in the modern world, and the improvement of collective management based on transparency, responsibility and regulation is a crying need of the world civilizational process.