An article written by Florence-Marie Piriou, the Secretary General of the French CMO Société Française des Intérêts des Auteurs de l’Ecrit* (Sofia) on fair compensation for rightholders under EU law was published in September in the monthly magazine “Commerce Electronique”. In the article, Ms. Piriou addresses the issue of the compensation paid to authors and publishers when their works are being reproduced on the basis of Article 5.2(a) and 5.2(b) of the EU InfoSoc Directive (Directive 2001/29/EC) and in the context of the Hewlett-Packard Belgium v. Reprobel case (Case C-572/13) that was referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Drawing on the existing international instruments that form the legal framework for copyright such as the Berne Convention and the WTO TRIPS Agreement, Ms. Piriou is demonstrating that the different provisions in these texts apply to all rightholders, including publishers; she is also quoting the EU legislation itself, including the Directive on Collective Rights Management (Directive 2014/26/EU) adopted last year and in which the rightholder is defined, under Article 3 (c) as “any person or entity, other than a collective management organisation, that holds a copyright or related right or, under an agreement for the exploitation of rights or by law, is entitled to a share of the rights revenue”.
Referring to the different national regimes that are providing both authors and publishers with a fair compensation for the reproduction of their works, Florence-Marie Piriou then explains how detrimental it would be for rightholders if the CJEU were to decide that publishers are not entitled to receive a share of fair compensation and should be excluded from the protection afforded by the EU Directives on copyright, and why such a decision would be in contradiction with the international and EU legal framework.
Ms. Piriou expresses in conclusion her hope that the Court of Justice, when ruling in the HP v. Reprobel case, follows the widely acknowledged and legally ascertained principle according to which authors and publishers alike should receive a fair compensation for the reproduction and copying of their works.
* Sofia is a Collective Management Organisation mandated by authors and publishers that is responsible, inter alia, for administering the public lending right in France. Sofia is a member of IFRRO.