from the not-a-panacea dept
Jonathan Band has put together a fantastic white paper, detailing "cautionary tales" related to excess of and problems caused by these Collective Rights Organizations (CROs) around the globe. It's quite eye opening. As he notes:
The episodes collected below reveal a long history of corruption, mismanagement, confiscation of funds, and lack of transparency that has deprived artists of the revenues they earned. At the same time, CROs have often aggressively sought fees to which they were not legally entitled or in a manner that discredited the copyright system. While properly regulated CROs in some circumstances enhance efficiency and advance the interests of rights holders and users, policymakers must be aware of this history as they consider the appropriateness of CROs as a possible solution to a specific copyright issueThe paper categorizes these problems into two categories. First up is a collection of stories that show how these organizations are quite frequently "Bad For Artists," covering things like corruption, mismanagement of funds, bad distribution of funds, lack of transparency, lack of choice, diverting funds & attention from small artists to large, etc. The second group is "Bad for Users," covering things like monopolistic control (and pricing), trying to ignore fair use, price fixing, and aggressively trying to get licenses for things they have no rights over. What's amazing about the report is just how many examples there are. This is not a case of a few rogue CROs acting badly. It's difficult to look through the paper and not see evidence of how these CROs are almost systemically designed to actually be very bad for both artists and the public (though perhaps helpful in keeping the status quo for gatekeepers).
Just doing a quick count, I see over 90 examples of actions taken by these collection societies that have either been bad for artists or for users. This is a serious problem, not a "solution" to fixing whatever inefficiencies there may be in the music industry today.