Russian collection societies merge – but there’s ‘internal war’

The three largest collection societies in Russia – the Russian Authors’ Society (RAO), the Russian Union of right holders (CPR) and the Russian Organization for Intellectual Property (VOIS) – have joined forces.

RAO collects monies on behalf of authors of literature, music, etc.; CPR collects a private copying levy for creators; and the Russian Organization for Intellectual Property collects for sound recordings and their performance.

According to local reports, the head of the RAO and CPR, Sergei Fedotov, took the proposal to the country’s Ministry of Culture, who supported the move.

The objective for the merger is predictable enough: (i) a saving in terms of cost efficiency, and therefore, the cash that eventually gets handed back to songwriters/publishers and artist/labels; and (ii) a single licensing point for use of musical works (songs) and sound recordings in the territory.

However it appears some on the side of VOIS – the sound recordings body, equivalent to SoundExchange (US) or PPL (UK) – aren’t happy about the merger, and are looking to block it outright.

According to reports, an ‘internal war’ is brewing following a conference earlier this month (July 17), where the three CMOs were due to discuss and approve the proposal.

VOIS’ chairman of the board was reportedly not notified about the conference, or the decision to form a new joint CMO – and even ‘considers this decision as illegal’.

If the three-in-one CMO goes ahead, he has vowed to contest it.

Former Russian Minister of Culture, Aleksandr Sokolov, a founder of VOIS, also opposes the merger and considers it illegal – and says he was locked out of the conference.

Three representatives of VOIS have reportedly now asked the Russian Ministry of Justice to inspect the validity of a merged CMO.

But the CEO of RAO and RSP, Sergey Fedotov, is arguing for progress.

He says the July 17 meeting, where decision to form new CMO was made, was legal and in accordance with local rules.

[Pictured: Rihanna, whose Diamonds was the first song in history to spend a record-breaking 16 weeks at the top of Russia’s singles chart]Music Business Worldwide

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