IFRRO speaks at Bulgarian EU Presidency Conference on copyright

On 15 March 2018, IFRRO participated in a conference organised by the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union on “Intellectual Property – Copyright”.
 
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Kurt Van Damme, Legal Director of Reprobel, speaking on behalf of IFRRO © Pierre-Olivier Lesburguères
 

In their opening remarks, Boil Banov, Minister of Culture of Bulgaria, and Mehti Melikov, Director of the Copyright Directorate at the Ministry, commented on the legal environment in Bulgaria and the need to effectively compensate rightholders since at the moment there are “losses for authors linked to both the legal and illegal uses of works”.
 
Marco Giorello, Head of the Copyright Unit at the European Commission, acknowledged the relevance and importance of private copying levies. When analysing copyright levies, one has to take into account the recent decisions of the Court of Justice of the EU, technological developments, and Member States’ discretion when implementing a levy system.
 
Two panels on the implementation of the EU Collective Rights Management Directive and private copying levies followed his intervention.
 
During the first panel, Dr Silke von Lewinsky (Max Planck Institute) commented on the relevance of Article 12 in the proposed EU Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market: authors and publishers should continue to be remunerated under exceptions to copyright as they always have, and it is crucial that the new EU copyright framework enables this to continue. Referring to the motto of the EU Bulgarian Presidency, “united we stand strong”, she noted that it perfectly applies to Collective Management Organisations and to the desire of authors and publishers to continue working together.
 
In the second panel, Kurt Van Damme, Legal Director of the Belgian CMO Reprobel, spoke on behalf of IFRRO about copyright levies in the text and image sector. He explained that analogue copying (through copiers, multifunctional devices, stand-alone printers and other reprographic devices) is still relevant. The book market for instance remains predominantly paper based, while at the same time digital uses are increasing year after year. It is therefore vital that copyright levies, when implemented, are collected for the reproduction of copyright-protected works using different techniques (analogue and digital) and apply to the various devices and media used to make such copies under the reprography and/or private copying exception. In conclusion, he emphasised how important the revenues distributed to authors and publishers from copyright levies are for them to continue creating and investing in new works, especially for languages not widely spoken and for less evident categories of work. He indicated that there is, as a consequence, also a direct link between these revenues and cultural diversity.
 
During the discussion the Chairman of IFRRO’s Member in Bulgaria, Mr Damyan Yakov, informed the audience about Minister Banov’s commitment to solve through legislation the current situation in Bulgaria where rightholders in the text and image sector still do not receive monies for the secondary uses of their works. He expressed his belief that change would finally come, and was joined by many in the room who shared the same hope.
 
The panels represented a diverse range of views, including those of IFPI, CISAC, GEMA, Artisjus, Europe Analyctica, mEDRA, DIGITALEUROPE and Elektronikbranchen, while a number of IFRRO Members such as EVA, FEP, OSDEL and Repro BG were in attendance.