Comments of the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights and Multi-Territorial Licensing of Rights in Musical Works for Online Uses in the Internal Market COM (2012)372
37 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2013
Date Written: January 16, 2013
The Max Planck Institute welcomes the initiative of the European Commission for a binding legal instrument on collective management of copyright and related rights in the EU. Numerous provisions are to be appreciated (paras 15 and 31). Yet the Commission seems to fail to take account of the full legal framework and factual circumstances that have structured the current system of collective rights management.
Disposing of natural monopolies in a two-sided market (paras 5-9), collecting societies (about this terminology, see footnote 2) should not refuse to grant access to their services to rightholders and users. Hence, it is strongly recommended that the European legislature follows the experience of numerous Members States and proposes an obligation to contract with rightholders (para 10) as well as with users (para 11).
The critique on the Commission’s approach to cross-border licences for online rights on musical works as set forth in the Recommendation of 2005 (footnote 6) has unfortunately not been duly considered and the Commission’s assessment of the practical effects of the Recommendation is mistaken (paras 9-10, 12, 17, 46 et seq.).
Differences of substantive copyright law among Member States still constitute an obstacle to the establishment of an internal market for works. This is why the Institute deems the Commission's sectorial approach to the regulation of cross-border licensing to be problematic. Also such regulation would require further harmonisation of substantive copyright law (paras 13, 20 and 25).
Moreover, the Proposal fails to take account of statutory remuneration rights and cases of mandatory collective management (see paras 14, 18 and 36). Both pursue specific protection of original rightholders. In this regard the Proposal’s refusal to distinguish between different categories of rightholders raises concerns (paras 15-18, 28, 55).
Since collecting societies manage copyrights and related rights arising from national law, and considering the benefits of an authorisation system (paras 57 and 69 et seq.), which can be found in several Member States, the Institute advises the European legislature to clearly state that the intellectual property exception of article 17(11) of the Service Directive applies to collecting societies (paras 19-24).
The Proposal endangers the balance both between different categories of rightholders and between rightholders and users that the established system of collective management of copyright in Europe traditionally seeks to achieve (see paras 32-45, 64). It thereby compromises the laudable goal to foster the establishment of an internal market for online uses of works across Europe (paras 12, 26, 46-65).
Keywords: Copyright, collective rights administration, collecting societies, Europe, online rights, licensing
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