The new Act on the Collective Administration of Copyrights
At the turn of the year, the new Act on the Collective Administration of Copyrights will come into force. The Act builds on an EU directive adopted in February 2014. Such directives are to be implemented in all EU member states, but the individual countries have a certain leeway to adapt the regulations. Changes to Stim's operations and statutes have already begun and will continue to be implemented successively during 2017.
The new Act presents new rules for collective administration organisations, which were not previously regulated under Swedish law. The new rules will affect Stim. The purposes of the regulatory framework include ensuring that members, rights holders and others are guaranteed unfettered insight into the organisation's operations and that the terms and conditions of the licensing agreements entered into between collective administration organisations and users are reasonable.
The Act was ratified by the Swedish government in autumn, although Stim began a review of its operations using the EU directive as its starting point as soon as this was adopted. The results of this review confirmed that Stim largely already fulfilled the requirements of the Act, but that a number of provisions in the Act would require adaptations to be made in the operations. Stim is currently working hard to ensure conformity with the Act, aiming to have as much as possible ready at the turn of the year. However, certain aspects will require additional time to implement, which is permitted under the transitional rules of the Act.
New IT project
One particular challenge is ensuring that IT systems and routines are able to handle the practical administration of the new elements in the organisation. Stim has initiated an IT project to address this challenge, but the project will not be completed in time for the turn of the year. Until such time as the new technology is up and running, Stim will continue to use its existing systems and routines. This will entail that a number of changes will be made from the effective date of the new Act, as well as further changes or amendments later in 2017. Stim would like to thank its affiliates and members in advance for their understanding that the practical aspects of the adaptation may take some time and may be implemented at irregular intervals.
Affiliates and members will benefit from numerous additions and improvements. For example, new statutes are currently in development which will be presented at the annual general meeting to be held in May 2017. An overhaul of the statutes was necessary to ensure that the operations are consistent with the requirements of the new Act and with the stipulations of the revised Economic Associations Act that entered into force in the summer. Stim has also taken the opportunity to modernise and simplify the statutes and the language used.
Clearer rules regarding the management assignment and new general terms and conditions for affiliation.
The new Act clarifies that a party that has assigned a management assignment to Stim is entitled to enforce limitations on the management assignment. Furthermore, a party that has assigned a management assignment to Stim is also entitled, parallel to the management assignment, to consent to certain uses of their musical works, on the condition that such usage is not for commercial purposes. A collective administration organisation may impose its own terms and conditions for such "self-licensing".
Stim is now working on simplifying the affiliation process and new general terms and conditions for affiliation are currently in production. The new general terms and conditions build on the former affiliation contract, but also provide clarity on the rights to which affiliates are entitled and explain how the management assignment works.
With regard to self-licensing, Stim will, until further notice, apply the condition that if an affiliate intends to exercise the possibility of self-licensing, he or she must inform Stim of the planned usage of the work and to whom consent has been granted no later than 10 days prior to the usage of the work.
A welcome change to the law, but bringing its own challenges
Stim sees the new Act as beneficial for affiliates and members and believes that it will bring about a more uniform regulatory framework for collective administration organisations within the EU. At the same time, it will be a challenge for the market to adapt to certain aspects of the Act. This is a natural consequence of the fact that different countries have implemented the directive in such a way that it is tailored to that respective country's market and the organisations active there.