Artists and writers will lose royalties if the European Commission decides to force changes on copyright management, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers said Friday (

Artists and writers will lose royalties if the European Commission decides to force changes on copyright management, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers said Friday (Feb. 10).

In a statement, CISAC said the Commission -- the European Union's executive arm -- had taken "a narrow and formalistic approach to the complex issue of the collective management of copyrights in Europe."

CISAC's comments come as a reaction to the Commission announcement on Tuesday (Feb. 7) of a formal investigation into its licensing arrangements. The Commission said preliminary findings revealed that CISAC was operating a de facto monopoly for European collecting societies.

If the Commission confirms that it is a monopoly, and breaks up the system of national collecting societies, it will lead to an unhealthy free-for-all, CISAC claimed.

"Competition between societies, which benefits large users at the expense of the interests of rights holders, will inevitably lead to a decline in creators' remuneration which in turn will have a detrimental effect on Europe's cultural industries and on the vibrancy and diversity of European culture," the Paris-body organization said.

CISAC chairman Cees Vervoord said the CISAC Model Contract and the Reciprocal Agreements had been examined many times by the EU courts and the Commission itself. He added that the Commission investigation was looking into provisions of the Model Contact that have either already been removed or are mischaracterized by the Commission.

CISAC argued that the long-established international licensing network, based on bilateral representation agreements, was a win-win solution. "Users can obtain through a 'one-stop-shop', a license to exploit the millions of works in the societies' repertoire from a single source and creators are reassured that their works will be remunerated, regardless of where in the world their works are used," CISAC noted.

CISAC said it recognized that its licensing framework should adapt to new technologies, but insisted that any update "should not undermine the value of the contribution of creators." It also claimed that authors' societies also played a role in fighting piracy.

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