GESAC has welcomed a new report on buy-out contracts within the creative sector which proposes that EU law-makers should seek to stop the spread of a deal-making practice that is more common in the US into the European market.
The organisation's General Manager, Véronique Desbrosses, says that the new report - commissioned by a committee in the European Parliament - “rightly underlines the disastrous impact of the growing phenomenon of buy-out on creators and on the cultural sector” and “provides independent evidence and adds to the recent calls from the European Parliament and the member states for legislative proposals from the European Commission".
GESAC - which represents song right collecting societies across Europe - has been increasingly vocal about buy-out contracts in recent years.
These are deals where an entity that is commissioning original music - usually for an audio-visual production - seeks to own all the rights in the music it commissions. Under such agreements, the music-maker gets a one-off fee but no subsequent royalties when their music is used.
There are also partial buy-outs where the commissioning entity takes ownership of some of the rights but, for example, the performing rights on the songs side might stay with the songwriter and their collecting society.
Buy-out contracts have traditionally been more common in Anglo-American markets and especially the US, though music-makers in other countries are increasingly under pressure to agree to at least partial buy-outs, mainly because of the rise of the big global video platforms.
According to GESAC, this new report commissioned by the JURI Committee in the European Parliament confirms that "buy-out practices are increasingly widespread in Europe and present a considerable risk for the European creative sector, in particular for authors and composers".
With that in mind, it "calls for legal solutions at an EU level" to ensure that measures in European law designed to protect and benefit creators "are not bypassed by non-EU-based giant platforms imposing US rules and jurisdiction in their contracts, as it has growingly become the case".
There is already some support in the European Parliament for such legal solutions. Last month the Parliament's culture and employment committees adopted a report that called on on the European Commission to "propose the necessary measures to address [the] coercive and harmful practices of global players that try to bypass EU laws through choice of law and jurisdiction clauses”.