Collective Management Organizations as Fiduciaries and Blockchain’s Potential for Copyright Management
Paper presented in: 23rd Ius Commune Conference (Amsterdam, November 29-30, 2018); 8th International Conference on Information Law and Ethics, Modern Intellectual Property Governance and Openness in Europe: A Long and Winding Road? (Antwerp, December 13-14, 2018)
26 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2018
Date Written: November 29, 2018
As widely acknowledged by academics and European copyright laws, Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) play an important role as promoters of creativity and key contributors to the quality of culture. Collective management of copyright is not just a technical problem, dealing with licensing of works or collection and distribution of royalties. Several uncertainties may occur due to the monopoly position, on the basis of which these organizations operate. In this context, authors have argued that CMOs should meet higher levels of transparency to better reach their goals. While some minimum standards are set by laws, perhaps, new ideas could be brought to the discussion table to better manage copyright in the interest of rightsholders and the culture itself. In this paper, the introduction of fiduciary laws is proposed to treat CMOs as entrustees, who would act to promote the beneficiaries’ (i.e. the rightsholders’) interests. In such relationships, CMOs could manage copyright with duties of loyalty, trust, and care, which could most probably ensure the optimal level of transparency. Organizations’ superiority over their members could justify fiduciary laws, which deal with relationships based on trust. The latter could also be strengthened by promising technologies. So, blockchain is tested to examine its potential in the field of copyright management. Its intrinsic and emergent properties are distinguished from one another to highlight the need for experimenting to better understand blockchain’s possibilities and its limitations. Finally, by further analyzing its characteristics, this paper argues that blockchain could offer new opportunities, but also pose great challenges for copyright management.
Keywords: copyright, Collective Management Organizations, blockchain, fiduciary laws
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