The European Commission proposed a single Europe-wide copyright and licensing system for online music on Thursday, aimed at boosting the European Union’s music business.
EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said European online services had to be improved to make copyrights cheaper for artists to obtain.
“We have to improve the licensing of music copyright on the Internet,” McCreevy said, adding that such a system would ensure “Europe’s creative community will get the lion’s share in revenues achieved online.”
EU Press release: Music copyright: Commission proposes reform on Internet licensing; the report Copyright and Neighbouring Rights; see also Management of Copyright and Related Rights with direct links to Study on a community initiative on the cross-border collective management of copyright and Copyright at the Crossroads?
From the study executive summary:
This Study examines the present structures for cross-border collective management of
copyright for the provision of online music services. It concludes that the absence of EU-wide copyright licences for online content services makes it difficult for these music services to take off. Improving cross-border licensing for music services requires the creation of entirely new structures for cross-border collective management of copyright.
In order to improve cross-border management of copyright, this Study considers three options: (1) Do nothing (Option 1); (2) Suggest ways in which cross-border cooperation between national collecting societies in the 25 Member States can be improved (Option 2); or (3) Give right-holders the choice to authorise a collecting society of their choice to manage their works across the entire EU (Option 3).
The Study concludes that Option 3 offers the most effective model for cross-border management. With respect to cross-border licensing, allowing right-holders to choose a collecting society outside their national territories for the EU-wide licensing of the use made of his works, creates a competitive environment for cross-border management of copyright and considerably enhances right-holders’ earning potential. With respect to cross-border distribution of royalties, the right-holders freedom to choose any collecting society in the EU, will be a powerful incentive for these societies to provide optimal services to all its rightholders, irrespective of their location – thereby enhancing cross-border royalty payments.
The Study therefore proposes a series of principles that Member States would have to adhere to in order not to stifle the emergence of Option 3 as a competitive model for the cross-border management of copyright works.