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SCAPR’s General Assembly agenda dominated by the suspension of Russian member VOIS, data projects, remuneration of creators and WIPO collaboration



The General Assembly of neighbouring rights societies’ trade organisation SCAPR has decided to extend the suspension of Russian member society VOIS until the next GA next year and refrain from any relationship with the society during the year.

SCAPR’s Board made the decision to suspend VOIS in March, following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, as a gesture of solidarity with Ukraine. The decision from the General Assembly was made after hearing from representatives from both VOIS and Ukranian society ULCRR.

The on-going suspension means that VOIS is not able to participate to SCAPR’s activities nor access its tools, such as the International Performers Database (IPD), or the VRDB data exchange system.

Financial support for Ukraine

In addition to various local initiatives from SCAPR and its members, the GA also approved the constitution of a special fund for Ukraine to:

  • Support financially Ukrainian performers,
  • Support Ukrainian performers’ CMOs and their employees,
  • Support cultural activities for Ukrainian refugees.

The 46th GA of SCAPR — which counts 56 CMOs from 41 countries acting on behalf of performers to collect their rights from the use of recordings — also renewed its Board during the AG held in Rome June 1-3.

After having served for six years, Eanna Casey, CEO of Irish society RAAP, Board member and Chairman of SCAPR, has decided to retire from the Board. In total, four new Board members had to be elected, one to replace Casey and three as per the organisation’s statutes.

A new Chair of the Board

Roberto Mello from Brazil’s Abramus was elected to the board and three existing Board members got re-elected: Tilo Gerlach from Germany’s GVL, Peter Leathem from the UK’s PPL and Agnieszka Parzuchowska from Poland’s STOART.

In addition, the new SCAPR Chairperson appointed by the Board is José Luis Sevillano, Managing Director of Spain’s AIE.

AIE’s José Luis Sevillano

“I am very pleased to count such level of diversity within the SCAPR board, with members from various regions of the world. And I look forward to continuing all the projects we have initiated,” said SCAPR Managing Director Remy Desrosiers.

A feeling of positivity and collaboration

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer at British neighbouring rights society PPL, welcomed the return to in person meetings with the SCAPR community of societies. “There was a feeling of positivity and collaboration at SCAPR’s General Assembly last week, the first in-person meeting for three years and an important touch point for the organisation,” Leathem told Creative Industries News.

For him, the pandemic “emphasised the importance of what the organisation does, with neighbouring rights playing an even more significant role in the economic life of performers than previously.” He added: “As SCAPR members, we worked with each other closely during this period to support our members, doubling down on distributions and working to ensure royalties were paid as efficiently as possible. The meeting acted as a moment for reflection, planning and friendship for the organisation and its members.

“This positivity was rounded off with the election of SCAPR’s first Latin American board member, Roberto Mello of ABRAMUS, emphasising SCAPR’s increasingly global outlook.”

Improving the infrastructure

During the GA, SCAPR’s secretariat informed its members about the IPN Dissemination project and the associated tool that the organisation is ready to launch for third parties evolving in the music and AV industry, looking to retrieve the IPN of a performer. “With this, we want to ensure that all performers are properly identified during all the steps of the creation project,” said Desrosiers.

“With the International Performer Number (IPN) system, we have an authoritative identifier for performers, which is being made more widely available to the industry,” added Leathem, who said that technology had been a recurrent theme throughout the week, with the VRDB and the IPN projects high on the organisation’s agenda.

Peter Leathem
PPL’s Peter Leathem

“SCAPR members have been quietly collaborating on improving the infrastructure for the management of performers’ rights,” said Leathem. “With VRDB we have a tool used by many collective management organisations as a repository for recording usage data and performer line-ups on recordings — all of the underlying information required for efficient, accurate distributions.”

Making VRDB easy to use and effective

Leathem also revealed that SCAPR has also been working with Belfast-based data processing company OnMusic and Munich-based data AI technology company Morseophy “to support members in crunching and cleaning global data to make VRDB as easy to use and effective as possible.”

During the GA hosted by Italian society Nuovo IMAIE, SCAPR welcome special guests such as Massimo Ungaro, member of the Italian Parliament, who presented the transposition of EU Copyright Directive into the Italian law and its benefit for the performers.

SCAPR’s Remy Desrosiers

Anita Huss-Ekelhurt from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) highlighted the work done by the two organisations during the past 12 months while Michel Allain from WIPO made a presentation on WIPO Connect.

Collaboration with WIPO

“We all realise the amazing number of initiatives, supports, events organised by WIPO to which SCAPR has participated and we confirmed our willingness to continue for the next year,” said Desrosiers. “For that, we have a specific working group called the Cooperation & Development WG that provides support and experts to many initiatives launched by WIPO.”

However, Leathem said SCAPR members expressed “disappointment and frustration” at the speed of adoption of WIPO’s Beijing treaty on audio-visual performances, which has the effect of leaving audio-visual performers, such as actors, lagging behind other categories of rights holders in the protection of their rights. “Similarly, the need to enhance and maintain the rights of sound recordings used in audio-visual works globally was discussed,” said Leathem.

Finally, the meeting saw presentations on the impact of the Copyright Directive in Europe and what Leathem describes as “the growing range of remuneration rights in the digital sphere that performers in Europe may benefit from in the future.”

Said Leathem: “There is also always more that we can do together to enhance the value of performers’ rights globally and provide a sound infrastructure for their management. SCAPR plays a central role in this, and I look forward to working with my colleagues over the next four years to continue to deliver on its ambitious plan.”

Emmanuel is a Washington, DC-based freelance journalist, blogger and media consultant, specialising in the entertainment business and cultural trends. He was the US editor for British music industry trade publication Music Week. Previously, he was the editor of Impact, a magazine for the music publishing community (2007-2009), the global editor of US trade publication Billboard (2003-2006), and the editor in chief of Billboard’s sister publication Music & Media (1997-2003).

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