European Parliament agrees copyright licensing changes


The European Parliament has agreed a new directive designed to simplify the management of copyright licensing.

The Collective Rights Management Directive, agreed on February 20, is designed to help online music services get pan-European licences and improve the royalty payments system.

In November last year WIPR reported that a provisional agreement had been made pending ratification by both the European Parliament and Council.

As part of the directive, music service providers will be able to obtain licences from management organisations to operate across the EU instead of having to deal with separate organisations in each member state.

There are also stricter measures for distributing royalty payments, including a time limit stipulating that rights holders should be paid no later than nine months from the end of the financial year in which the revenue is collected.

Till Kreutzer, a lawyer at the Office for Information Law in Germany, said the adoption of the regulation was good “in general”.

Kreutzer said that one of the provisions (Article 5, paragraph 3) that gives rights holders the power to grant licences for non-commercial use of their work was a “good and long-overdue” approach.

“Many rights holders want to license certain non-commercial uses under open content licences to attract more attention to their works,” said Kreutzer.

“So far, such strategy was often incompatible with the membership in a collecting society because their statutes did not allow for individual licensing from the rights holder itself.”

The news was also welcomed by the UK’s minister for IP, Lord Younger, who said the deal should be seen as a “positive step”.

“The UK has a world class music sector which supports thousands of jobs across the country. The very fact that we are one of only two net exporters of music in Europe underlines its importance,” Younger said.

“This deal should be seen as a positive step taken by the European Commission, and I welcome this agreement. By simplifying cross-border licences we are making sure that we continue to do all we can to support this thriving industry.”

Kreutzer said certain scopes in the directive were too narrow.

“The regulation for multi-territorial licensing is not applicable to collecting societies that manage other things besides authors’ rights,” said Kreutzer.

“Therefore the management of the rights of producers and performers - which are needed to make music available online - are not covered by these rules.”

The directive must be formally accepted by the European Council before it comes into force. Once adopted, the deadline for implementation by member states will be 2016.

Copyright, licensing, EU, royalties, European Parliament, Collective Rights Management Directive