CISAC letter to Prime Minister Rama

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing on behalf of CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, to express our concerns with respect to the current state of collective management of copyright in Albania.

As the leading worldwide organisation of authors’ societies (also referred to as Collective Management Organisations, or CMOs) CISAC unites 239 CMOs from 121 countries. Through these CMOs, CISAC represents around 4 million creators from all artistic fields including music, drama, literature, audio-visual, graphic and visual arts. A Non-Governmental Organisation, presided over by French electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre, CISAC is an observer at UN institutions dealing with culture and intellectual property, and assists governments around the world in formulating copyright legislation that adequately protects creators’ interests.

ALBAUTOR is the only CMO in Albania that has been accepted as a CISAC member organisation. In addition to its management of local repertoire, ALBAUTOR has been entrusted with the protection and management of international repertoire, through numerous reciprocal agreements that it signed with similar CMOs in Europe, USA and throughout the world. ALBAUTOR therefore fulfills an important position in ensuring the protection of rights in Albania for both local and foreign creators and in light of international intellectual property commitments undertaken by Albania, in particular as a signatory to the Berne Convention, and as a country aspiring to become part of the EU.

CISAC has been closely following the copyright and collective management situation in Albania which, despite certain progress, regrettably continues to suffer from low levels of public awareness to the importance of protecting creators and from poor enforcement of creators’ rights.

The decision of August 4, 2017 by the National Council of Copyright at the Ministry of Culture, to approve the national tariff system, as well as the Council’s decision of October 10, 2017 to establish a “one stop shop” licensing solution in Albania, were both welcomed by our sector. Yet, we remain extremely concerned by the multiple challenges raised by users to their legal obligation to pay royalties.

Major national users (media companies) including National State Radio and Television broadcasters, have attacked the new government-approved tariff system before the courts. They initiated an aggressive media campaign against our member ALBAUTOR, in an effort to bypass the law and avoid their legal obligations. Such an approach is not only counterproductive to the creative sector in Albania, but also conflicts with your own government’s efforts to effectively regulate in the area of copyright and stabilize the collective management landscape where, unfortunately, the law is not respected.

Further, we are concerned with the fact that the State Market Inspectorate, under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, has essentially stopped carrying out copyright inspections for the last 18 months. These inspections were extremely helpful to ALBAUTOR in carrying out its mission on behalf of creators.

CISAC was proud to re-admit ALBAUTOR as its member in 2016, following a significant process of internal reforms at ALBAUTOR. The importance we place on Albania is well reflected in the fact that ALBAUTOR is part of our dedicated programme to assist CMOs and develop their capabilities and operations as a CMO. CISAC is strongly committed to assisting ALBAUTOR in becoming a fully functional CMO but it cannot achieve this goal without proper protection and enforcement of copyright in Albania and without the support of the government.

Collective management of rights is at the heart of the creative activity and culture. It ensures that creators in Albania and elsewhere can live from their work and continue to enrich our lives with their creation. It is also at the core of a hugely important economic sector that contributes significantly to growth, jobs and development. By addressing the current challenges with respect to collective management in Albania, the government will not only support creators, but also secure its domestic economic interests. It will also send a very important signal to the international community about Albania’s commitment to the copyright and collective management standards adopted in the EU and elsewhere.

I thank you in advance for your consideration of the above matter and for your support to ALBAUTOR. We remain at your disposal for any clarifications or assistance with respect to the above.

Yours sincerely,

Gadi Oron

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