USTR releases findings on global trade barriers
On 30 March, The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published its annual National Trade Estimate report, which looks at global trading practices.
In the report, countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Canada are criticised for not doing enough to protect intellectual property rights.
And despite some IPR reform in India, the authors write that the country has yet to make sufficient progress to achieve its innovation, creative and investment goals.
The findings go on to state that China has undertaken a wide-ranging revision of its framework of laws. However, inadequacies in IPR protection and enforcement are harming its trade with the US.
Finally, the report calls for a passing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) in the US Congress.
Free Trade Agreements
India and EU FTA still stalled
Despite high hopes, India and the EU have ruled out a resumption of the stalled negotiations for a free trade agreement as “many bottlenecks still remain”. According to reports, both sides are yet to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including data security status for the IT sector.
TTIP preparatory meeting take place in London
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman is this week meeting with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström in London. The meeting serves the purpose of preparing for the 13th round of TTIP talks due to take place on 25 April in New York. This round of negotiations will focus on regulatory cooperation and services.
Hong Kong: Government shelves copyright amendment
On 4 April, the Hong Kong government said it would end the debate on a new copyright law entering into force. The motion looks set to be approved on 13 April.
The bill was supported by large parts of Hong Kong’s entertainment industry and deemed crucial to modernise the country’s current copyright law and to combat online piracy.
Unfortunately for the bill’s supporters, the political climate in Hong Kong, which is much focused on freedom of expression, was far from ideal for a government intervention in the online arena, which has resulted in ministers backing down and shelving their plans.
Indonesia: Spotify launches in Indonesia
With a population of more than 250 million, Indonesia is a huge market for Spotify to launch in. But there is a problem. According to music trade body IFPI, Indonesia’s per capita spend on music in 2014 was just 10 US cents. However, the country reportedly has 46.5 million broadband users and 300 million mobile subscriptions, meaning there is a good chance that the streaming service will reap the rewards from this significant market.
South Africa: Expert critical of Government IP expertise
In a recent media interview, the newly appointed Anton Mostert Chair of Intellectual Property Law at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, Professor Sadulla Karjiker, said that the country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been “unresponsive” to stakeholders’ feedback on proposed IP legislation.
Karjiker said he was frustrated by the lack of IP expertise in the Government, adding that last year’s proposed Copyright Amendment Bill showed a lack of basic knowledge of IP. He also said that the content of the highly anticipated IP bill was completely incoherent.
South Africa does not currently have a general IP policy and the draft bill aims to improve the country’s approach to IP issues on both national and international levels.
United States: Artists call on Congress to reform Copyright Act
According to a statement from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), hundreds of high-profile artists, songwriters and composers in the music industry are calling on Washington to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
"Artists spanning a variety of genres and generations are submitting comments to the federal government’s U.S. Copyright Office demanding reforms to the antiquated DMCA which forces creators to police the entire Internet for instances of theft, placing an undue burden on these artists and unfairly favouring technology companies and rogue pirate sites," reads the statement.
The petition claims the safe harbour and notice and takedown provisions of the DMCA create a shield for tech companies and allow infringers to repost material after it has been removed.
The move follows the Copyright Office’s December 2015 announcement that it would evaluate the safe harbour provisions of the DMCA that protect internet service providers from third parties who illegally share content online.
The DMCA became law in 1998 with the aim of updating copyright laws for the digital age, but with advances in technology, it is now very much out of date.
The RIAA says that a multitude of music organisations have also submitted a joint brief "explaining the myriad flaws in the DMCA and calling for reforms."
United States: RIAA releases 2015 figures
On 22 March, the RIAA published figures revealing that in 2015, recorded-music revenues increased by 0.9 % to $7 billion year on year in the US. The report also states that streaming has overtaken download sales, rising from 27% in 2014 to 34% in 2015.
However, revenue for the creators isn’t growing at the same pace, adding to the so-called value gap – the mismatch between the value that certain digital platforms extract from music, and the value that is returned to rightsholders.
RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman said: “In 2015, fans listened to hundreds of billions of audio and video music streams through on-demand ad-supported digital services like YouTube, but revenues from such services have been meagre — far less than other kinds of music services.”
Commission to set out industry-focused DSM measures
At the recent DigitalEurope conference in Brussels, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market (DSM) Andrus Ansip said that a new set of industry-focused measures would be published on 18 April as part of the Commission’s DSM strategy.
"This package is about creating the right environment for our industry's digital future,” said Ansip, adding that it is essential to attract more investment into digitised industry.
The Commission also said it wants to kick-start the development of common standards in priority areas such as 5G communication networks and to make public services more efficient across the EU.
Commission requests feedback on publishers’ rights
As part of the EU’s copyright reform, on 23 March, the European Commission published a public consultation on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain and on the so-called “panorama exception”, which refers to using images of buildings, sculptures and monuments.
The consultation is seeking views on the potential impact to publishers, citizens and the creative industries of granting an EU neighbouring right to print publishers. It will also provide feedback for the Commission's analysis of the aforementioned panorama exception.
The consultation closes on 15 June.
National and member news
Italy: Recorded music sales rise for third year in a row
Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana (FIMI) has announced that recorded music sales in Italy rose by 21%, from €122 million in 2014 to €148 million in 2015. The strong performance of physical formats accounts for most of the growth, although digital now comprises 41% of the Italian market. Italy is the 10th biggest music market in the world, earning €206 million in trade revenue in 2014 alone.
United Kingdom: MCPS invites third parties to pitch to administer its business
The Mechanical Copyright Protection Society Limited (MCPS) has issued a Request for Proposals to administer certain areas of its business and all back-office operations, including the online business for independent music publishers – Independent Music Publishers e-Licensing (IMPEL). The aim is to simplify and make available more MCPS and IMPEL licensing schemes online, to cut costs and to streamline business processes.
“In a fast-moving data-driven environment, it is essential that we find the best back-office solution via a competitive tender so that we can be more responsive to the needs of our members and our customers,” said Jane Dyball, CEO of the MPA Group of Companies including MCPS and IMPEL.
United Kingdom: PRS for Music Foundation launches flash funding programme
On 6 April, PRS for Music Foundation, electronics hire outlet Wigwam Acoustics and the Musicians’ Union launched a 72-hour flash funding initiative in which British artists could apply for a so-called “Performance Fund” that would provide four emerging acts with tailor made monitoring packages including microphones and control system equipment worth up to £10,000. Also on offer for the winners is advice and training on promotion and touring.
ICMP at Frankfurt Musikmesse
On 7 April, ICMP held a meeting in Frankfurt MusikMesse under the auspices of its Serious Music Bureau. Some 20 music publishers attended and debated key issues relating to sheet music.
Much discussion revolved around the role of serious music in streaming services and the challenges of sharing files and sheet music on social media. An update was also given on ICMP’s Anti-Piracy Committee with members commenting on the Committee’s current work and next steps regarding various coordinated actions at global level. Another key item on the agenda was the European Commission's ongoing review of the EU's copyright rules, in particular those affecting sheet music through the revision of the exception on copyright for illustration for teaching.
The next meeting of ICMP Serious Bureau will be on 5 June in Cannes during Midem.
ICMP meets SGAE in Madrid
On 30 March, ICMP Director General Coco Carmona, together with the confederation’s Spanish members, OPEM and AEDEM met colleting society SGAE’s Director General and Deputy Director General. The meeting served the purpose of continuing discussions on television broadcast distribution rules. It ended with commitments made by SGAE on steps to remedy some of its issues in the next few months. ICMP reiterated the need for a definitive solution with no further delays.
McAndrews quits Pandora, share price plummets
CEO Brian McAndrews has quit US Internet radio service Pandora, which resulted in the company’s share price tumbling by more than 12%. McAndrews has headed up the platform for the past two-and-a-half years. Pandora has been losing listeners ever since the arrival of Apple Music in June last year. The Board has now appointed Pandora founder Tim Westergren as CEO, amid rumours that the company may be up for sale.
TIDAL surprises critics with 3 million subscribers
Celebrity endorsed music streaming platform TIDAL has released its subscription figures for the past 12 months. According to the company, it now has more than 3 million subscribers worldwide across 46 countries - adding some 2.5 million since Jay Z bought it last January.
The Rolling Stones' first major exhibition opens in Saatchi Gallery
The Rolling Stones' first major exhibition opened in London’s Saatchi Gallery on 6 April and will run until September. Called “Exhibitionism”, it offers visitors an interactive tour through the band’s work and includes original stage designs, rare instruments and iconic costumes.
Brazil IP expert Denis Barbosa dies
Denis Borges Barbosa passed away on 2 April. He was a leading IP professor, researcher and lawyer and a key international IP figure.
Upcoming meetings and events
Global Synch Summit @ EXPO
18 – 20 April, 2016, California
LARC16 (Latin America Regional Music Publishers Conference)
19 April 2016, Bogota
The European Culture Forum
19 - 20 April 2016, Brussels
WIPO Conference on the Global Digital Content Market
20-22 April 2016, Geneva
Canadian Music Week
2 – 8 May 2016, Ontario
WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) – 32nd session
9 May 2016 – 13 May 2016, Geneva
3 – 6 June 2016, Cannes
ICMP meetings during Midem:
ICMP Board Meeting and General Assembly
4 June 2016, Cannes
Pop and Serious Bureaux meetings
5 June 2016, Cannes
ICMP EU Training Day
13 July 2016, Brussels
CEEMPC16 (Central and Eastern Music Publishers Congress)
15 September 2016, Prague
Regular updates on all our events are available on: www.icmp-ciem.org