From a predominantly “physical” market and carriers for music and audiovisual work (CD, DVD, vinyl, etc.), internet has caused the broadcasting and exploitation of these works to shift towards the digital market. The European regulations with regards to copyright and neighboring rights, however, have not followed.
The principles regarding neighbouring rights applied in the physical world are equally applicable to the digital world. Therefore, when someone listens to music or watches a film through a legal online platform, the exploitation for neighbouring rights for performing artists deriving from it is applicable.
As a result, the performing artist who participated in the realisation of a work (in the same way as the author and the producer) is therefore rewarded in two steps:
The online distribution of an artistic performance as an actor, singer and/or musician, therefore, should generate neighbouring rights.
In reality, a vast majority of performing artists receive too little or even nothing at all for this online exploitation. Most performing artists turn over their rights on the use of the works on which they collaborate in exchange of a meagre fixed compensation: this is quite standard in the sector.
Due to the lacking of a European framework adapted to the digital market, online platforms get to fix the parameters for a retribution for performing artists as they see fit. More specifically, they make distributions inspiring themselves on rules applied by collective management societies.
To this effect Netflix, Spotify or Deezer share part of their publicity revenue and the profit from their subscriptions with the producers, basing themselves on the total number of views/listens on their platforms.
In this manner they calculate the value of an individual title, adoptant a method which is very similar to the distribution rules of collective management societies. Important difference with regards to this distribution process: performing artists are completely excluded from equation and therefore they have no control whatsoever on the way the rules are applied.
AEPO-ARTIS (Association of European Performer Organisations) has established a coalition of all the European collective management societies. Its objective? To defend the rights of performing artists with regards to the current ongoing modernization of copyright and neighboring rights .
AEPO ARTIS suggests that performing artists should be automatically entitled to an additional remuneration for the use of their artistic performances through on demand video and music services.
How? By introducing an equitable remuneration right for exploitation by online platformes, a principle which already exists for offline exploitations. The collective management societies, who specialise in the processing of large numbers of data, are best suited for the treatment of the information on the usage of online exploitations. They are therefore genuine potential partners to perform calculations and individual distributions with regards to the artists’ rights.