Composers, songwriters and collective rights societies gathered in Costa Rica last week and called for the government to strengthen its focus on author’s rights protection as the country hosted the 31st International Council of Creators of Music (CIAM) conference.
The two day event was preceded by a press conference on 17th April where renowned Costa Rican composers from the local society ACAM were supported by senior representatives from CISAC. The press conference was also attended by the Vice-president of the board of the Legislative Assembly Martin Monestel and three deputies. They shared the concern of musicians and composers in the region that next year’s general elections might see the reinstatement of many regulatory changes made during the previous administration that weakened the effectiveness of international author’s rights agreements in Costa Rica.
These changes included draft legislation that greatly reduces the requirement for national radio and television companies to pay artist rights. In addition, legal reservations had been raised that aimed to exempt the country from certain clauses of the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Performances and Phonograms treaty. Both would directly impact the livelihoods of authors in the region.
“Our objective is to raise awareness and understanding in Parliament of the importance of authors’ rights both culturally and a fair means of remuneration for creators,” said Simon Darlow, chair of BASCA, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and Deputy Chair of PRS for Music. Authors are global rather than national artists and it’s vital that the international agreements that Costa Rica has signed are properly implemented and fully respected.
A mediation will be organised between users and composers members of ACAM by one of the deputies present at the press conference in order to discuss the different points of view, find common ground and unblock the situation.
The CIAM conference drew in over 60 delegates from Member Societies and key regional bodies around the world including the European Composers and Songwriters Alliance, the Pan-African Composers and Songwriters Alliance, Music Creators North America, the Alianza Latino-Americana de Autores de Música, as well as the Costa Rican Minister of Culture Manuel Obregon, as guest of honor.
The bases for CIAM as a hub were settled. South America, Europe, Africa and North America are now directly affiliated with CIAM as an umbrella organization. CIAM is much more representative that before. Authors are now connected in an unprecedented manner. Information can flow seamlessly from Malawi to the Americas and up to CIAM’s board, allowing regions to learn from each other, allowing a coordinated global response to local challenges.
New business models being developed every day for online music distribution make this a rapidly changing landscape and a number of panels were held on sub-publishing, online licensing, and future collection management.
CISAC director general, Olivier Hinnewinkel, praised the work of CIAM and its chairman Lorenzo Ferrero in bringing these issues to the fore.