Press "Enter" to skip to content

Business divorce of Russian accredited collecting societies

Russian Union of Right holders – (RSP) accredited by state Russian collective management society collecting private copying levy in Russia – has decided to terminate agreement, transferring authority to manage copyright and establishing cooperation in this field, concluded with Russian Authors Society – (RAO) another accredited by state collective management society collecting royalties for public performance and synch under state accreditation.

CEO of RSP and VOIS, Andrey Krichevsky, has sent a letter to Russian ministry of culture (mincult) notifying ministry of termination. The reason is “multiple violations of its obligations by RAO and actually inability of RAO to carry out its obligations in future due to unstable situation around of RAO”. Before this letter there was another letter by Vera Fedotova – first deputy of RAO’s CEO. She has notified RSP of delay with payments under concluded agreement. This letter stated that RSP intentionally delays with payment of compensations, “therefore (RSP) violates terms and conditions of concluded agreement and current law and prevents RAO members from receiving of royalties”.

But RSP believes it is RAO’s fault. RAO did not provide RSP with registry of musical works and other subject matter. RSP has paid to RAO during period from 04.10.2011 to 09.09.2015 1 296 076 536,25 Russian roubles. Krichevsky claims RAO is not able to provide necessary and correct reports in time. RAO’s “approach” in relation to reports contradicts to RSP standards of quality and transparency in collective management. Moreover, some right holders, entrusted RSP to collect private copying levy, are not agree with existed practice under concluded between RSP and RAO agreement – to receive royalties, collected by RSP, through RAO, they want to receive it directly from RSP and they have not authorised RAO to collect private copying levy.

But according to RAO, it did not receive such notification to terminate agreement authorising to manage copyright. “RAO did not receive any notification. RSP never claimed any violation of agreement from RAO side. RAO discovered it from the press” – stated press-service of RAO. RAO also mentioned that during the term of agreement it always provided RSP with registry of right holders. Near future RAO will do it again.

In addition RAO has underlined that in order to terminate this agreement one part of this agreement has to notify other part six months prior of termination. That was not made. So it can mean that RSP owes RAO.

The most interesting thing is whether RAO has authority to receive money for private copying levy. It does not collect for copying in private purposes and never did. RSP has all right to claim paid money back. But RAO believes it has right and authority to collect private copying levy in Russia despite state accreditation of RSP. RAO even asked Mincult to make RSP pay a part of collected private copying levy to RAO. Such RSP’s “negligence” violates rights and interests of RAO’s members (if they never have authorised RAO to collect private copying levy!).

Mincult replied RAO. It is necessary to find out whether RSP violated the applicable law and then make relevant decision. Only on the ground of one RAO’s letter mincult cannot make RSP to pay private copying levy.