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Draft proposal for a directive on copyright in DSM – transparency obligation

Certain right holders such as authors and performers need information to assess the economic value of their rights which are harmonised under Union law. This is especially the case where such right holders grant a licence or a transfer of rights in return for remuneration.

As authors and performers tend to be in a weaker contractual position when they grant these licences or transfer their rights, they need information to assess the continued economic value of their rights, compared to the remuneration received for their licence or transfer, but they often face a lack of transparency. Therefore, the sharing of adequate information by their contractual counterparts or their successors in title is important for the transparency and balance in the system that governs the remuneration of authors and performers.

When implementing transparency obligations, the specificities of different content sectors and of the rights of the authors and performers in each sector should be considered. Member States should consult all relevant stakeholders as this will help determine sector-specific requirements. Collective bargaining should be considered as on option to reach an agreement between the relevant stakeholders regarding transparency.

To enable the adaption of current reporting practices to the transparency obligations, a transitional period should be provided for. The transparency obligations do not need to apply to agreements concluded with collective management organisations as these are already subject to transparency obligations under Directive 2014/26/EU.

Certain contracts for the exploitation of rights harmonised at Union level are of long duration and there are few possibilities for authors and performers to renegotiate them with their contractual counterparts or their successors in title. Therefore, without prejudice to the law applicable to contracts in Member States, there should be a contract adjustment mechanism for cases where the remuneration agreed under a licence or a transfer of rights is disproportionately low compared to the revenues and the benefits derived from the exploitation of the work or the fixation of the performance, including in light of the transparency ensured by this Directive. Where the parties do not agree on the adjustment of the remuneration, the author or performer should be entitled to bring a claim before a court or other competent authority.

Authors and performers are often reluctant to enforce their rights against their contractual partners before a court or tribunal. Member States should therefore provide for an alternative dispute resolution procedure that addresses claims related to obligations of transparency and the contract adjustment mechanism.