Billboard reports that the Russian government has proposed that there should be one collective licensing body across the Eurasian Economic Union. Russia’s government is still deciding whether or not the government should take over collective licensing in the country after a number of scandals, setting up a new agency that would combine RAO (which is the collection society for authors’ rights), VOIS, which deals with neighbouring rights, and RSP, which collects a one-percent tax on imports of electronic devices that can be used for copying content. Russia’s culture ministry has now reportedly suggested a multi-territory licensing body could be set up as part of the Eurasian Economic Union. According to Billboard, the Russian culture ministry has proposed that that new government-led rights body could also handle collective licensing in other countries that are part of the Eurasian Economic Union, which are the former Soviet states Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as Russia
The culture ministry has suggested that the multi-territory rights body could “combine national collecting societies and develop uniform standards for their operation, management and control over their observance”. The latter proposal – ie an EEU body regulating collective licensing – would have some parallels with the regulation of collective licensing in the European Union via European law, though a multi-territory statutory body that actually did the licensing would be something different.
Russia’s culture ministry had previously made a series of proposals aimed at improving the way collection societies operate in the country, although the societies said the proposals were 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 stipulated that collecting societies sould have to provide rights holders’ access to their records, including data on collected and paid royalties
CMU opine that while the music community, certainly abroad, remains uneasy about the idea of the Russian government getting involved in royalty collections, given that collective licensing is nominal or non-existent in the other EEU states, some sort of new royalty regime in those countries might be a positive step, if the monies actually reached creators and rights owners.
In 2001 Music Law Updates editor Ben Challis posted up an article on the 1709 Copyright Blog suggesting that a pan-EU ‘super’ collection society could have distinct advantages – and disadvantages for both the music industry and users of music.