Business News Labels & Publishers Legal Top Stories

Majors criticise proposal for government takeover of collective licensing in Russia

By | Published on Thursday 22 September 2016

Russian flag

The Russian divisions of the three majors – so that’ll be Universal Music Russia, Sony Music Russia and Warner Music Russia – have all hit out at previously reported proposals by the country’s government that it take over the administration of collective licensing in Russia.

The local major label chiefs have put their name to a letter, also signed by other Russian music industry leaders, urging ministers to drop those proposals. According to Russian business newspaper Vedomosti, the music industry reps argue that government taking over the collection and distribution of performing right and other royalties would destroy the existing system rather than reform it.

The letter also states that, because Russia is a signatory on the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement On Trade-Related Aspects Of Intellectual Property, the government there can’t take over the collective licensing system, because that treaty prevents private intellectual property rights from being transferred to government institutions.

As previously reported, it’s not the first time Russian ministers have proposed taking over responsibility for collecting various copyright royalties from the RAO, which represents song rights; VOIS, which represents the record industry’s performing rights; and RCP, which collects a private copy levy.

The latest proposals come amid various controversies over at the RAO, the General Director of which – Sergei Fedotov – is still fighting fraud charges from jail. And, according to Billboard, just last week a Moscow court decided not the grant the rights body chief bail.

Meanwhile, although the RAO board and management continue to back Fedotov, a small number of the society’s members attempted something of a coup last month, overhauling the constitution of the organisation and putting a new boss in charge. But the RAO top guard refused to recognise any of that, and instead chucked those leading the coup out of the society. Now the whole matter has now gone legal.

It remains to be seen what the Russian government’s next move on all this is.

READ MORE ABOUT: | | | | |