The Slovenia Times

Collective Rights Management In For Reform


While previous such attempts were quickly thwarted, the ministry now hopes to reach a consensus among stakeholders.

Collective rights management is currently governed by the copyright and related rights act, but will now be spun off into a separate piece of legislation after a similar proposal was shot down amidst a flurry of lobbying earlier this year.

"Our principal aim is to ensure that rights organisations work transparently and efficiently, for the benefit of rights holders and users," Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the press on Thursday.

The new bill addresses some of the main complaints by rights holders, most notably how collective rights organisations are managed, and how forthcoming they have to be about their financial operations.

Rights holders will be free to choose which of the multiple organisations will manage their rights, but the majority of copyrighted rights will remain subject to mandatory collective management.

Regardless of their type of incorporation, these organisations will have to have a general assembly, supervisory board and management board.

They will be required by law to inform rights holders about their operations and publish financial reports in the same way that companies are required to.

Even a minority of members will have the right to demand extraordinary audits or sessions of the general assembly.

Collective rights organisations have been under increasing scrutiny in recent years due to their intractable and opaque operations.

Many rights holders have complained about not being able to influence decision making since some organisations created systems that disproportionately favoured major authors, leaving others on the sidelines.

At the same time, users have complained that the collective rights organisations, which collect millions of euros in fees each year, have opaque systems of billing, with fees that are beyond appeal.

This is but the latest attempt to reform copyright law. In the past the rights organisations have managed to either prevent reform or hollow out amendments.

Earlier this year the government drafted a comprehensive reform, but ended up withdrawing the majority of the most serious provisions following heavy lobbying by the rights organisations.

The biggest of them, SAZAS, reported 41 lobbying contacts with coalition MPs in January alone, far more than any other lobbyist.

The ministry is now soliciting feedback from stakeholders and plans to stage a public debate on the reform proposal at the end of September.


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