Monday 22 September 2014

Extended copyright licensing: the MOCA survey

Coffee and Copyright: both
start with "C" and both can
be pretty good stimulants ...
The MOCA, which is a short-hand way of saying "The Ministry of Copyright, Cultural, Creators' Assets", is not actually a government department -- though this blogger would be happy to know that an official agency of that name existed if it could be guaranteed to look after the interests of creators.  Nor is it a mis-spelled Arabian coffee bean or the homophone of a popular chocolate-flavoured coffee drink.  Rather, it is a highly specialised consultancy agency that offers over quarter of a century's expertise and media industry advice on copyright policy and legislation, rights management and business development.  Be that as it may, MOCA has taken to heart the need to enlighten the creative community as to the consequences of some significant legislative changes in the United Kingdom.  As the organisation explains:
"By October this year copyright legislation [in the United Kingdom] will change so that authorised legal entities will be able to reuse and collect payments for re-use of creators' works even if they are not members of a collecting society. This change in legislation (ECL [= Extended Copyright Licensing, explained by the UK government here]) will affect all creators in the UK whether they have published their works or made these available via social media sites. Creators who are not happy with this arrangement will have the opportunity to opt out (a) all schemes prior to an ECL commencement or (b) specific licences which may or may not contain your work within 21 days from the published notice".
With this in view, MOCA is running a voluntary independent survey to give everyone an opportunity to have their say about ECL, what they would expect of an Opt-Out procedure and how they think it may affect their business. All information gathered from this survey will be reported back to relevant parties such as rights holders, collecting societies and to the UK Intellectual Property Office. This questionnaire should take less than five minutes to complete.

The closing date for submitting surveys is 25 October 2014. If you are affected by ECL, if you think that you might be, or if you have any friends, family, acquaintances or household pets who might be, do please let them know about it.


john r walker said...

Is there any information re how the opt-out will work for non UK rightholders ?

john r walker said...


"The Government response to the technical consultation on draft secondary legislation for extended collective licensing (ECL) schemes",
seems a to be a bit slippery on the how of opt out.

On one hand it states:

"The Government’s clear legal advice is that it will not meet its legal and international obligations if it does not allow non-members to opt out of UK ECL schemes."
"The Government has therefore amended the regulations so that there is now no obligation on the opting out non-member to provide a list of all their works. "

But on the other hand the document also states that:

"The Government hopes that non-member rights holders will list the works they want to opt out of ECL schemes and in so doing lower the chances of their works being used unlawfully. Opting out non-members who don’t list their works greatly increase the chance of licensees not doing the due diligence on what is in the repertoire."

For some, possibly many, right holders especially in the visual area- photographers,visual artists, designers and so on- listing every work would be a lot of work- it could involve 30 or more years of back cataloging, (and would be next to impossible for some). It could also involve registries listing potentially thousands of fairly generic individual titles such as: Untitled Number 25 or : Sunset in the Appalachians .

Many small to medium right-holders have existing individual commercial arrangements and contracts re copyright management and related matters- I have had the same agent for decades.
It seems that in practice, protecting these preexisting individual commercial arrangements from being accidentally overruled by the UKs ECL schemes might be hard work.

And there is no mention of how opt-out would work re 'inclusions'.