IN THIS BRIEFING —
- Comment — Stop-Go Politics
- Comment — A New Start for CISAC
- Comment — GRD Scoping Study Launches
Welcome to the October issue of our monthly public affairs bulletin, BASCA Briefing. This month we would like to highlight some of the positive developments which are happening across our industry. BASCA is delighted to report that the umbrella organisation for collecting societies has appointed a new director general, while the Global Repertoire Database is making great gains - see more about these below. We also discuss a proposal called ‘Traffic Lights’ put forward by PRS For Music - a simple, but hopefully effective way to increase the legitimate music market.
We hope you will find it useful; if you would like any further information, please telephone us on 0207 636 2929 or email email@example.com
COMMENT — Stop-Go Politics
The problems that the music industry has faced with unlicensed streaming and downloading of music are well-known and much reported. BASCA has fought hard alongside other organisations in the industry for legislation that would tackle illegal use of music by providing technical measures and other avenues of redress against persistent offenders.
It was no easy task to get the Digital Economy Act passed and even less easy for the Act to include such measures. The process to make the measures provided either meaningful or effective has also been difficult, particularly as the bulk of the costs are to be borne by the rights owners rather than the ISPs.
BASCA believes that there will never be one catch-all solution to the endemic problem of piracy, witting or un-witting, and especially in the case of the latter, BASCA takes the view that there can never be too much in the way of education or guidance as to the right or wrong ways to access and acquire music. For this reason, we applaud the proposal put forth by PRS For Music to create a ‘Traffic Light System.’ In much the same way as the padlock on a browser gives an indication of security, ‘traffic lights’ (warning and/or legitimacy symbols denoted by red, amber, green) would alert the user to the authenticity of a website offering licensed musical works. In an ideal world, the ‘traffic lights’ would appear alongside search engine results to provide consumers with information on the legal or otherwise status of a site where downloads are made available.
BASCA welcomes this proposal as a means of offering information, education and reassurance to the music consumer. The ‘Traffic Lights’ proposal has received a positive welcome from some quarters of parliament so let’s hope this gains traction and isn’t yet another stop-go story.
COMMENT — A New Start for CISAC
In a recent article Robin Gibb, BASCA Fellow and CISAC president, wrote: “Creators share one common future and destiny, regardless of repertoire, nationality or where their works are consumed. That’s the core belief at the heart of CISAC’s philosophy.”
CISAC, (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) is the body that represents the views of Collecting Societies. With 232 member societies in 121 countries its mission is to work for increased recognition and protection of creators’ rights. On a practical level this means strengthening and developing the international network of societies (upon which composers and songwriters throughout the world depend for much of their income) and helping to set common standards of governance and transparency. This is a huge and continuing task and one which requires strong leadership.
It is therefore unfortunate that, for the past 18 months and at a time where the role of such societies has been under close scrutiny from governments and those who seek to licence music, that CISAC has been without a Director General. BASCA is therefore relieved that, at last, a new Director General, Olivier Hinnewinkel, has office. The challenges facing Mr Hinnewinkel are many and varied and he will need time to find his feet, but it is vital for all of those who write music that CISAC plays its part. By the end of this year we should have a clearer idea of the direction in which the EU Commission is going with its draft legislation on collecting societies — we will need CISAC’s voice to be heard clearly and loudly.
COMMENT — GRD Scoping Study Launches
Via our close ties with the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA), BASCA has been involved with developments relating to the Global Repertoire Database (GRD). Although it might be considered hard to get excited about complex IT projects, the GRD is an extremely important project for both writers/composers and rightsholders in that it will ease the process by which digital music is licensed by providing comprehensive ownership information on all musical works.
BASCA is delighted to convey the news that the GRD Working Group has begun a 20-week, industry-wide scoping study to determine the technical, data and business processes, as well as the approach to governance and funding, of the GRD.
The establishment of the database is certainly advanced, demonstrating to Professor Hargreaves’ (who has recently conducted an investigation into the role of IP and Copyright for the British government) that his calls for the creation of a similar database — the Digital Copyright Exchange — somewhat lag behind the music industry’s work.
Developments such as these display how the music industry has taken a firm grip on the growth of the digital market and BASCA considers its role — as the voice of the creator - to be essential to that process. We will update you on GRD as it progresses.