World Intellectual Property Organization

Conference calls on WIPO to Boost Support for Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights

Geneva, November 26, 2008
PR/2008/577

A conference on the future evolution of collective management of copyright and related rights in Europe has called on WIPO to step up efforts to help stakeholders address the emerging challenges facing collective management. Participants urged WIPO to strengthen the copyright infrastructure so as to support creative industries and promote social, economic and cultural development.

The Conference on Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights in Europe, held in Brussels from November 24 to 25, 2008, was organized by WIPO in association with the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC) and in cooperation with the Association of European Performers’ Organisations (AEPO-ARTIS), and the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).
 
WIPO Director General, Mr. Francis Gurry, assured participants that “copyright and related rights remain high on the agenda of WIPO.” He told the conference that collective management is “one of the most tried and tested tools for assisting in the effective implementation of copyright and related rights…and is the best option that we know for returning value to creators.” 
 
Mr. Gurry said, “WIPO has an important role in supporting the tool of collective management, especially with respect to the developing countries.” He noted that collective management today is facing extraordinary challenges with economic, cultural, technological and legal implications, and that WIPO would focus on collective management systems within the context of its work on the future development of the global intellectual property infrastructure.
 
The Conference provided an inclusive forum for discussion of challenges arising from technological developments and trends in the digital market, rights management information systems and competition issues. Discussions focused on the future of collective management in the digital environment, and considered a range of improvements in the application and management of rights introduced by collective management organizations worldwide. It provided an opportunity to deepen the dialogue between stakeholders in the creation, licensing, and dissemination of creative content and allowed participants to draw on European experiences. 
 
A wide range of issues was addressed, including the role of digital right management technologies in supporting the creation of new business models for legitimate delivery of protected content and collective management; interoperability; interactive online and mobile services; user-generated content and social collaboration platforms; good governance of collective management organizations; and double taxation of royalties.
 
Some 400 participants from collective management organizations, lawyers, academia, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, developers of digital technology and services and creative industries took part in the event. 
 
Collective management societies administer the rights of authors, performers and other creators.  Their main responsibility is the licensing, collection and distribution of royalties and remunerations to creators. The interlinked technological environment in which they operate today presents collective management societies with a number of challenges, not least in terms of how to track usage of their members’ works.  The various solutions that have emerged in response to these challenges have forged new opportunities and mechanisms for managing creators’ rights.

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