Russia’s Culture Ministry proposes collection society reforms

December 2015

Music publishing, recorded music



Russia’s culture ministry has made a series of proposals aimed at improving the way collection societies operate in the country, although the societies say the proposals are unfeasible. According to the ministry’s proposals, collection societies would have to pay at least 75 percent of all collected money to rights holders, with the remaining 25 percent spent on operation costs and other uses. The proposals also stipulate that collecting societies must provide rights holders’ access to their records, including data on collected and paid royalties. The ministry’s proposals are apparently aimed at increasing the transparency of collecting societies’ operations, and stepping up payments to rights holders.  Artemy Karpychev, deputy general director of RAO, the state-approved authors’ rights collecting society, tells Billboard that whilst the proposals might seem ‘excellent’, there would be substantial obstacles in implementing them saying:  “The 75-percent figure is what we already have, on average,” he said. “But if it has to be applied to every type of authors’ rights separately, for some of them, collection will have to be stopped. Take, for instance, collecting public performance royalties from restaurants and cafes,” he explained. “Transaction expenses for that type of collection are very high.” And according to Karpychev, giving rights holders access to collecting societies’ data bases would require substantial investment and woud involve careful negotiation of data storage laws
The country’s three main collecting societies –  RAO, VOIS, which deals with neighboring rights, and RSP, which collects a one-percent tax on imports of electronic devices that can be used for copying content – had previously announced a merger, but that now seems unlikely.

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