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BIEM, CISAC And GESAC Warn Against Phasing Out Of Private Copying Schemes
MIDEM '06 News
By Mi2N
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Authors' rights organizations are deeply concerned about the future of private copying schemes that provide fair compensation to authors for the private copying of their works by consumers. Private copying is currently under review by the European Commission and other countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, Japan and Mexico. The software industry and the manufacturers of recording devices and blank media are pushing for the abolition of private copying schemes in favour of DRMs. BIEM, CISAC and GESAC consider that such policy would seriously jeopardise the interests of authors and their publishers and would threaten cultural diversity.

Analysis by BIEM, CISAC and GESAC shows that DRMs are far from being generally applied and allowing control over private copying of creators' works. Furthermore, many products and/or services allowing private copying of the entire world repertoire will continue to exist in the future. BIEM, CISAC and GESAC therefore believe it is unjustified to consider any phasing out private copying schemes. They have expressed their concerns directly to EU Commissioner McCreevy and are closely involved in the development of the situation in other countries.

More EU Legislation Unnecessary

The European Commission recently began an investigation into the need to adapt the private copying remuneration schemes that 22 out of the 25 EU Member States use to ensure that authors receive a fair reward for their work.

Bernard Miyet, president of GESAC, said, "There is no economic or other imperative for European legislative intervention to modify current private copying remuneration schemes in Europe. DRMs are still under development and will not offer truly effective protection for rights holders in any foreseeable future. Moreover, the consumers do have an interest in the perpetuation of the exception for private copying, and it is inconceivable that they might be deprived of the possibility to continue to make private copies. Furthermore, private copying schemes are not hindering the growth of the European online market."

DRMs Do Not Render Private Copying Schemes Obsolete

Private copying remuneration schemes have become the subject of a worldwide lobbying campaign, led by the software industry and the manufacturers of recording devices and blank media, that is aiming to persuade legislators that so-called "private copy levies" are now superfluous and should be replaced with technical protection measures (TPMs) and Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology.

BIEM, CISAC and GESAC are fully supportive of TPMs and DRMs as they promise to be useful tools in developing a vibrant and legitimate online market. However, this technology is at an early stage and does not actually prevent users from making unlimited copies. Furthermore, DRM systems currently enable consumers to circumvent the protection so that they can transfer their music onto other digital devices. Moreover, the development of DRMs does not imply that the exception for private copying will disappear.

Cees Vervoord, chairman of CISAC board of directors, said, "Private copying schemes are a win-win for everyone. They provide a simple and cheap solution for consumers; they enable manufacturers to use the copying features on their equipment as an attractive selling point and at the same time creators are remunerated for the copying of their works."

In addition, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) concluded in a recent publication that so-called "levies" are hampering the growth of the European online market. However, in support of its assertion that the US online market is some eight times larger than the European one, they have ignored the all important and highly developed European mobile music delivery market. A true comparison of the two markets reveals that the European digital music market is in fact some three times larger than that of the US. They also predict that the European market will grow by 500 percent by 2008. Therefore, it is highly questionable as to whether private copying schemes have any bearing on the size of the European online market.

Private Copying Remuneration is Vital

Jürgen Becker, president of BIEM, says, "We have seen many exciting technological breakthroughs, enabling us to bring music and other forms of entertainment to more and more people around the globe, whether they are at home, at work or on the move. Ultimately, the culturally diverse content which drives this market relies on creators who in turn depend on earning their living from fair remuneration for the use of their work. The protection of authors' rights by effective means and their fair remuneration is more important than ever."

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