Thursday, February 10, 2005

Romania: Fixed Fee for Online Music

The Arbitration Commission of the Romanian Copyright Office has decided that internet users who offer music on their site for downloading or streaming, must pay a fixed annual fee of 80 euro. If the owners of the websites charge for the music they have to pay 10% of the price of a downloaded song to the collecting society, with a minimum of 8 euro cents per track. A same scheme is set in place for the providers of ring-tones (the transgenic music I referred to in an earlier post).

This decisions comes after failed negotiations between the Romanian Musical Performing and Mechanical Rights Society, the Romanian Association of ISPs and the association of ring-tone providers. The remarkable thing of the decision is that the copyright owners can only opt-out of the use of their music online. They have to provide the collecting society a list of the music they don't want to see used on the internet.

It is unclear to me what these decisions mean for non-copyrighted musical works, and the enforcement of copyrights despite the opt-out system. I guess the related rights will still be in place, though copyrightsholders will not have to count on the collecting society if they follow their own path. The association of Romanian ISPs will appeal the decision, because they find the 10% charge too much.
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