ARIPO Members: Collective Management Organisations Need Better Digital Documentation, Licensing 23/11/2016 by Hillary Muheebwa for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Collective management organisations need to embrace online trading platforms, so as to increase earnings for economies and creators. That was the call made during a recent regional workshop on digital licensing and documentation in Harare, Zimbabwe for music collective management organisations (CMOs) by the member states of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). CMOs are appointed by copyright owners to administer the licensing of rights, collection of royalties and enforcement of rights on their behalf. The workshop was held from 8-10 November, hosted by ARIPO, in cooperation with the Norwegian Copyright Development Association (NORCODE) and the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC). According to Maureen Fondo, head of copyright and related rights at ARIPO, the objectives of the workshop were to: Facilitate mass consumption of copyright content and consumer access to content in a new media and online environment; develop sector specific licensing schemes for new media and online exploitation and documentation; and promote efficiencies of management of collective rights organisations in order to improve on the dissemination of creators works and increase their income. Other objectives included: Identify the main issues in documentation of works to address the challenges of digital service licensing; explore ways to encourage and facilitate multi-territorial and multi-repertoire licensing of authors and where possible related rights; and create an opportunity for participants to develop strategies for collaboration in new media and online digital licensing of music. According to an ARIPO statement, “it is envisaged that participants were capacitated to improve collection strategies, address digital documentation issues, promote multi-territorial and multi-repertoire licensing and create opportunities for development of strategies for collaboration through various specific sessions.” During the workshop, there were also discussions and reviews of relevant case studies with key resource persons. Christopher Kiige, ARIPO director of intellectual property, at the workshop Delivering his opening remarks, Christopher Kiige, ARIPO director of intellectual property, highlighted the importance of the workshop, as the online environment has become a critical platform for the creative economy. “We cannot fail to notice the ubiquitous online environment that has enveloped us. Not even Africa is spared from the online activity that has become a global phenomenon. Of note is the fact that copyright industries are some of the major drivers of activity on online trading platforms and these new markets present a huge potential towards increasing earnings for our economies and creators,” he said. Kiige also highlighted the efforts ARIPO is making in developing a regional copyright database that will increase interaction with national IP offices. According to the Survey on the status of Collective Management Organizations in ARIPO Member States, released earlier this year, there are 25 CMOs across 13 ARIPO member states. Six out of 19 ARIPO member states do not as yet have an established CMO. These are Lesotho, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Swaziland. The laws of Lesotho and Sierra Leone do provide for the establishment of a CMO. While those of Somalia, Sudan and Swaziland do not have such provisions, the report noted. According to Inger Dirdal, managing director, NORCODE, the group’s goal is to improve the situation for rights holders in order for them to get remunerated for the use of their works, by facilitating for training staff from CMOs in developing countries. “NORCODE thinks it is extremely important that the African CMOs get training on how to make sure that rights holders are protected in the digital world,” Dirdal said. This was the third workshop on CMOs NORCODE has facilitated together with ARIPO. Inger Dirdal, NORCODE managing director, at the workshop In the conclusions after the second workshop held in November 2014, the need for training on digital licensing was stressed. For that reason, NORCODE chose to focus on digital licensing and documentation in this third workshop, Dirdal said in an email exchange. Increasingly, online platforms have overtaken traditional platforms in the use and marketing of musical and other related works. Even traditional radio and television broadcasters have online programming, meaning that the online market is now a huge market. According to Fondo, failure to cater to the licensing and documentation of the online environment will not only lead to losses in revenue for creators, but also lead to unjust enrichment of those using copyright works on their online platforms without authorisation. “ARIPO CMOs and other African CMOs need to be more proactive and set up systems that will be beneficial to the creators in their respective repertoire and to ensure collaboration with other sister societies for the creative industries’ benefit,” Fondo added. During the workshop, it was noted that most of the CMOs face challenges of digital documentation, whereas the few CMOs that have automated systems also need to be improved for efficiency. “We are currently undertaking another survey to enable us to get the latest details on the collections by the CMOs,” Fondo revealed. In the way forward of the workshop, it was resolved that there is a need to increase cooperation between the CMOs. To this end, committees were set up to spearhead these efforts. The committees will also look at harmonising digital licensing systems within the regional block to ensure improvement in the operations of CMOs. Worldwide, digital revenues from streaming subscriptions, downloads, and advertising revenue accounted for 45 percent of the total music revenues collected in 2015, compared with 39 percent for physical formats such as CDs and vinyl records. A 2016 report [pdf] by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) attributed the change to the popularity of streaming, which has altered the way many people listen to music. With digital sales amounting to revenue of £4.7bn and streaming revenue rising to £2bn, it more than offset the continuing decline in sales of physical albums. IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore, commenting at the release of the report, said that after two tough decades for the music industry, the increase in people consuming music in new ways was to be celebrated. She said the figures reflected an industry that has adapted to the digital age and emerged stronger and smarter. “This should be great news for music creators, investors and consumers. But there is good reason why the celebrations are muted: it is simply that the revenues, vital in funding future investment, are not being fairly returned to rights holders,” Moore added in the foreword to the report. It is this challenge that the regional workshop in Harare was looking to address, by building the capacity of CMOs. 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