If you bought into all the hubris about the ‘inevitable’ demise of charging for content, you might imagine that debating the future of licensing was pointless. Or just dull. Watching this might change your mind

Frustration, despair, bewilderment, optimism, explanations, answered and unanswered questions. This debate may not be in any way conclusive and the coverage is certainly not exhaustive, but far from being pointless or dead, the subject of licensing seems very much alive in the minds of both the powerful and the voiceless.

These panel sessions were held as part of the Midem 2010 IAEL event. The video covered speakers from several different sessions.

I’ve tried to convey the essence of some of the comments in the video which caught my attention:

Chairman of the first session, Stephen Masur, Senior Managing Partner, MasurLaw (USA):

  • “Can collective licensing work?”:

Todd Brabec, former Executive Vice-President, ASCAP (US): “It definitely works, but it needs:

  • good metadata
  • good transparency
  • reciprocal agreements with collection societies for all parties and countries”

Peter Jenner, Founder, Sincere Management (UK):

  • need to define parameters within which negotiations should occur
  • don’t think one solution fits all

Bob Kohn, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO, Royalty Share (US):

  • there has to be competition between collection services

Ralph Simon, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO, Royalty Share (US):

  • “Is collective licensing working?”

John Simson, Executive Director, Sound Exchange (US):

  • it’s effective for certain types of revenue streams

Cees Van Rij, Director of Legal Affairs, Buma/Stemra (Netherlands):

  • we should be looking at a licensing system whereby we grant the license to the consumers via the ISPs

Simon Wheeler, Director, Strategy , Beggar’s Group (UK):

  • collective licensing seems to be appearing more and more frequently now
  • he thinks it’s not the preferred solution for music
  • think it’s the way it’s going, because the market is so dysfunctional at the moment
  • you need a commercial incentive for ISPs to be helping us protect our content
  • the only way to do this is if they are part of the value chain
  • they need to add value
  • just slapping a rate on … doesn’t create any more value for anyone
  • they need to effectively become a retailer
  • they’ve got to have a real incentive to help us protect our content from being shared without any revenues coming back to us
  • if collective licensing is going to be the way forward, there needs to be a fair and transparent mechanism to ensure that the money goes back to the correct rights holder
  • the only real solution is a global rights database
  • it needs to be a ‘one stop data base’
  • it needs to be controlled by a ‘not for profit’
  • it needs to be transparent
  • it needs to have easy and fair access