New legislation on Collective Rights Management in the EU has come under fire from some high-profile detractors.

The contentious new draft law is designed to make royalty collection more efficient, reduce piracy, and make international rights management easier. Under the terms of the proposals, royalty firms must pay performers, composers and producers as well as artists. The new laws would also reduce the time limit in which artists must be paid to 12 months, a 50% reduction.

The main sticking point, however, is a clause about what to do if a composition can’t be easily identified. Under the new proposals, EU collection societies are entitled to pocket all revenues for recordings that still remain unclaimed after five years.

Music Week report that Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Sandie Shaw and one-time R&S resident CJ have all put their name to an open letter lambasting the new proposals. The letter doesn’t pull any punches: “We are deeply disappointed by your choice to defend the interests of a minority of managers and stakeholders…You have broken your promises and encourage the management of collecting societies to keep the fruits of our creativity… You stole our hopes”. Another choice extract reads: “You thus legitimise one of the most problematic forms of embezzlement adopted by some collecting societies in Europe”.

Not everyone is up in arms about the change: PRS, for example, have supported the new draft law. The legislation still needs to be passed in European Parliament before it becomes enshrined in law.



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