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Original ideas to reform collective rights management in Russia

Investigators do their job. They interrogate employees of RAO. And Sergey Fedotov tries to appeal his arrest. Other stake holders have to present their proposals concerning new model of collective rights management. They have term till middle of August. First vice-premier Igor Shuvalov entrust Russian ministry of economic development to create new model of collective rights management. “We will try to involve all stakeholders and providers of content, and authors and telecommunication companies and all of them.” – said Oleg Fomichev, deputy of Russian minister of economic development.

Business ombudsman also intends to sue RAO. He prepares class action for violation of regulation in the field of collective management regardless of corpus delicti. The suit will be ready in autumn. Some “experts” from industry believe RAO has lost trust of authors and should be deprived of accreditation. One expert (he actually is going to be on a board of new collecting society which should be found very soon) said that “Fedotov Case” is a story about fish rotting from the head. “You can hide this head in sand, but you can’t deny the fact that it is impossible to reanimate all structure of this organisation (RAO). RAO is a fish, rotted from the head since Soviet Union times.” – he said. Other composer, Alexey Ribnikov explained, after withdrawal of his rights from RAO he started to collect much more royalties than before (sometimes about ten times more).

But Russian ministry of culture has no plans to deprive RAO of its accreditation. Besides, it has two state accreditations. MinCult proposes to implement certain changes in relation to RAO and other organisations collectively managing copyright. In particular it is proposed to introduce provisions about supervisory boards. The draft law has been prepared. It contains changes to Russian administrative code and Russian civil code. According to these amendments all collecting societies will be obliged to have supervisory boards consisting of representatives of state authorities and users. These boards will control financial activity of such organisations, including work of created funds for funding artists. Collective management organisation also will be obliged to disclose information about their activity. It is also proposed to make possible for each right holder to obtain information about author’s state of affairs in real-time – how much he should receive. Such measures will make system of collective management more transparent. Draft law is coordinated with administration of Russian president, now it should be coordinated with ministry of economic development.

First vice-premier Igor Shuvalov was more “ingenious” than others. He proposed to unite all collective management organisations having state accreditation in one CMO. He believes it is better to consolidate all collective accredited licencing in one organisation. He does not care about subject matter of accreditation and collective management at all. “Currently commercial organisations conclude agreements with authors. There are a lot of such organisations. Some of them act in behalf of few authors or hundreds of authors, they consolidate certain “membership” of right holders and interact with collective management organisation in relation to payments of royalties for authors they represent. Such system is more clear, intelligible and transparent for us.” – said Oleg Fomichev. Under such system the author will have choice to interact whether with intermediary or directly with collecting society.

“We have to propose common economic model in order to allow author to receive fair remuneration and to allow telecommunication companies to receive their share and let to collecting societies to have something they could exist on. Nobody should feel itself offended.” – added Fomichev.

Andrey Krichevsky also gave original idea. He proposed to entrust the distribution of collected royalties to third parties. So, accredited collecting society collects royalties under state accreditation, allocates them among right holders and then transmits to their representatives. Russian ministry of economic development did not agree with it. “Extended collective rights management is necessary only for collection of royalties. For other things (for example distribution, reports) it is not necessary at all. Why not to entrust a distribution of royalties to hands of such organisations, who directly authorised by right holders? It is so called umbrella model of collective rights management.” He forgot one question – why accredited organisation is necessary under such model?