Monday 6 January 2014

DJs and collecting societies in Poland: time for dialogue?

We bloggers receive a good deal of correspondence from readers, most of which never gets on to the blog. However, every so often we receive something worthy of reflection and discussion.  Here we have a message from veteran Polish DJ and editor of the DJs Portal Yahu Pawul, which will resonate with many people whose experience of copyright is usually with its hard end, at which arbitrary rules appear to govern their regular routines, rules which they find hard to understand or appreciate.  Writes Yahu:
"I'm an "old" deejay pioneer of the Polish disco scene - I started 1970 and continue at 61 :-)) I do also some work as a publisher against Polish copyright law's persecution of Polish deejays.

They (the copyright organisations here) work in strange ways -- it looks like corruption etc. -- and send the Police into the discotheques and arrest deejays as pirates, thieves, etc., which I find totally wrong!

We are deejays of discotheques and we are persecuted a lot in Poland because of the sources of the music we play.

Deejay persecutions are totally wrong because, if we play music, then club owners have to pay royalties for precisely what are mentioned on our report lists - for artists, authors, producers. It does not matter what the source is for our mp3 / music / tracks, the same royalties have to be paid.

They call deejays who download music from any internet source pirates. This is upside down and totally wrong, because deejays do not sell this music but play public only that which creates a profit for all - and most of all for artists, producers and authors!

By the way, we in Poland need serious control of copyright organisations as to whether they do transfer 100% of the royalties they say they have the right to collect.

Is there any chance for cooperation with you against this wrong law in Poland as same as against those copyright organisations?"
It's not the way of the 1709 Blog to get involved in domestic law reform especially since, as a group of bloggers from different countries, with different professional or academic backgrounds and different perspectives, we can't easily reach consensus on a wide variety of issues.  However, what we can do is to offer people with different views and, in many cases, well-entrenched interests, a chance to debate and discuss their differences.  DJs don't share the anxiety that collecting societies have with regard to unauthorised or illicit downloads, and collecting societies don't often see a benefit to viewing, through the eyes of DJs, the little bit of world they both occupy. When both claim to benefit the interests of performers, composers and other rights owners, a little dialogue is in order.


Peter Herring said...

Unauthorised downloading by anyone without the consent of the copyright owner is by default theft. (Downloading from iTunes etc. for a payment carries with it implicit consent). It is the copyright owner which decides on the value of the recording. Record companies send free promo copies to the DJ's they wish to have them. DJ's can contact record companies and ask to be put on the mailing list. However for a DJ to download and claim immunity because of the use to which it is put does not negate the fact that it is still theft. If I take an orange without the consent of the orange's owner and give to someone in the hope they will like the flavour and buy an orange themselves ...

john r walker said...

"as to whether they do transfer 100% of the royalties they say they have the right to collect. "

Given that much of the music played is provably not of polish origin, a related question is: What percentage of the total royalties collected go to the persons who actually played and produced the music and/or How much is redistributed to acquaintances of the polish collection societies?

Anonymous said...

May be a good idea would be to collaborate with Younison (