Modèle:ConsultCE2014:Reform of collective management

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9. Reform of collective management

If one follows the approaches tabled in this document, collective management will play an important role for collecting and redistributing sums originating in the commercial exploitation of works by distributors. This can not happen without a radical reform of the governance of collecting societies. The European Commission initiated a reform process recently materialized by a directive proposal with one part on cross-Europe music licensing and one part on the general governance reform of collecting societies. This proposal has some merits, in particular the imposition to allow for a separate management for various types of rights, which will permit authors to regain more power on exploitation rights and the non-market dissemination of their works. However, the governance side of the proposal is very disappointing.

The directive proposal does not solve the structural problems in the collecting societies governance that make them instruments of an unfair distribution of the collected funds:

  • The existence of a censal vote system connected to elections by colleges, often separating large benefitters from small. This situation frequently leads to a coalition of publishers (or other assignees of rights), stock owners of rights and heirs of deceased artists holding the majority of votes, with authors or artists contributing to future creation having only a minority of votes. The principle of one person/one vote must apply.
  • A total lack of transparency on the statistical distribution of the redistributed sums (ranked sums by decreasing order, distinguishing between sums redistributed to living artists and those distributed to assignees and heirs). This data must be of compulsory publication and auditable by representatives of authors, artists, consumers and users.
  • The treatment of the "undistributed" sums due to too small amounts, to a difficulty in localizing the benefitters, or because funds were collected for works on which the society did not hold management rights. These sums are either stored or redistributed to the other members, prorata of their income, which amounts to a significant subsidy of the wealthiest by the poorer or the public. This is not compensated by the measures in favour of small recipients that have been put in place by some societies.

The Members of the European Parliament will have to amend the proposal text to ensure it achieves at least a proper treatment of the issues listed above.