2016 Azerbaijan International Conference on Collective Management Organisations

 On 4-5 May, CISAC and the Azerbaijan Authors Society (AAS) organised an international conference on “The Importance of Collective Management Organisations in Supporting Creativity and Promoting Cultural Diversity”. The two-day event, held in Baku, attracted approximately 100 participants, including government officials, society representatives, creators, music publisher representatives and creative industry professionals from Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Bulgaria, Estonia, Canada, Sweden, Slovenia and other countries.

 Azerbaijan Authors Society Chairman and CEO Ismayil Mammadkarimov opened the event by highlighting the tremendous progress and economic development experienced in the country, and the efforts of AAS to promote the interests of local and international creators.

 "As a result of the wise policy of Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as profound economic reforms conducted in the country, and the tireless efforts of the First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, great strides have been made in the protection of culture and national heritage, especially the development and promotion of national music. The “rich economic potential of our country must be transformed into intellectual capital” motto encourages us, the Azerbaijan Authors Society, to carry out our daily work. The main objective of the seminar is to identify more efficient ways of protecting authors’ rights in Azerbaijan, a country forming an integral part of world culture and heritage”.  

 Mammadkarimov’s keynote was followed by CISAC Director General Gadi Oron, who focussed on the ways in which copyright protection drives economic value:

 "By supporting creators and ensuring that they get paid for their works, collective management organisations also support a sector that has a hugely-important economic value: the cultural and creative industries. We often hear this myth that copyright is a hindrance to economic development. But all the evidence points to the opposite. Countries that create a solid copyright framework that effectively compensates creators eventually benefit from stronger creative industries and stronger economies. The link between good copyright protection and economic value is clear and strong".

 The head of the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan, Malena Mard, also gave a keynote speech, in which the importance of copyright and collective management was highlighted. She expressed the importance placed by the EU on effective collective management and the commitment to assisting Azerbaijan in this area.

CISAC Regional Director for Europe Mitko Chatalbashev gave an overview of collective management developments in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEE).

"Proper legislative frameworks providing for one stop-shop licensing solutions, including extended collective management schemes, are a key precondition for effective authors’ rights protection in CEE. Societies in the region would welcome any state support to ensure that only legitimate and transparent CMOs are allowed to exercise collective management activities. At the same time, it is important to avoid arbitrary or non-proportionate actions that result in creating unnecessary and burdensome procedures that prevent the market from developing to its potential". 

 Mr. Mammadkarimov of AAS followed with a review of the “Law on Copyright and Related Rights in Azerbaijan”, local challenges and the way forward.

 The Copyright Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan Chairman Kamran Imanov joined the event and provided his views on the way to develop collective management in the country.

 The event continued with a “Copyright and Intellectual Property in Other Countries” panel discussing experiences, society information, future plans, and how the law helps in the development of musical culture. Panellists included SOCAN COO Jeff King; Russian Authors’ Society(RAO) Deputy Director General Karpychev Artemy; Russian Union of Rights-holders Deputy Director Erik R. Valdes-Martines; Estonian Authors’ Society Chairman Mikk Targo; MESAM Secretary General Gunes Ramazanoglu; MSG General Secretary Baris Sensoy; Musicautor Managing Director Ivan Dimitrov; KAZAK Deputy General Director Serik Issayev; Publishers Copyright and Licensing Society (YAYBIR) General Counsel Abdullah Egeli; Bildupphovsrätt i Sverige (Sweden) CEO Mats Lindberg; Georgian Copyright Association (GCA) Chair Giga Kobaladze; Director of AIPA and IPFGregor Stibernik, Abyroy (Kazakhstan) General Director Azamat Tleuzhanov; Sony Music Economist Arseniy Kozymaev; KYRGYZPATENT Head of Inspection Department Askarbek Najimudinov among others.

 Following the conference, the CISAC delegation, AAS and the Copyright Agency of Azerbaijan met with the National Council of TV and Radio of Azerbaijan Chair Mr. Magerramli Nusirevan to discuss possible ways to improve the licensing situation in the country where a vast majority of broadcasters still deny copyright payments to collective management organisations.  The productive discussions led to an agreement that the Council and the Copyright Agency of Azerbaijan will organise a meeting between CISAC member AAS and all broadcasters, a first step toward redressing the situation.