Report on the Fourth Face-to-face IMR Consultative Committee (CC)
I. The IMR Study
The Secretariat provided an oral report on the IMR status, including developments since the last face-to-face meeting held in Brussels, in June 2011, with special focus on the preparation of the Study on the role and functions of the IMR. The diversity and richness of the information made available during the Roundtable on Database Initiatives (October 12) and the WIPO Conference on Copyright Documentation and Infrastructure (October 13 and 14) will have a considerable impact on the outcome of the Study. The Study aims at defining, from a high level of abstraction, the common functions of a Rights Management Organization (RMO). These specific functions, which have been preliminarily outlined in this chart, need to be supported by infrastructure. Interoperability remains key both in regard to the relationship between different functions and between different RMOs. The design of a matrix of functions and their interrelation will facilitate identifying the points of resistance and find ways to overcome them.
Some questions were raised in regard to the scope of a "look up" function of the IMR. According to some, users only need to know the cost of the license and how to acquire it. Others consider that users also need to know if the money goes to the right place. Even if conceding that the look up function was necessary for the right owners - and even to a certain degree for users- the lack of knowledge of where money is going was often used as an argument not to pay. In consequence, a look up function helped to legitimize the operations of RMOs. It was necessary to differentiate the public sphere of licensing from the private sphere of distribution. Others considered that it was necessary to discriminate three different spheres: public information, licensing and distribution.
Some considered that it was correct to follow a high level, generic approach in the definition of functions, which should not be limited to the "back office" operations of the RMO. Three layers may be contemplated. At the top: Identity Management, which should be interoperable and ensure that identifiers are consistent in referring to their specific objects. Second, a static layer would focus on Rights Management. On this level the appropriate information in order to identify the rights holders can be found so that licensing can be facilitated. Finally, a third layer covered the interaction with end users under the term Use Reporting. In addressing the main components of Identity management, three key elements were mentioned: (a) Trust the parties i.e. need to agree that when they refer to a proxy they relate to the same thing; (b) codification, the need for a common vocabulary and (c) syntax or some type of grammar enabling the relation between different elements.
As regards codification, some referred to the need to have common definitions and highlighted a possible role for WIPO in developing a glossary of different terms. WIPO had prepared different types of glossaries in the past. Several colleagues considered that the natural role of WIPO would relate to Identity Management. A registry could provide trust, which is a fundamental element of Identity Management. The Registry could be federated or distributive, but if there was a central hub that connects and reconciles all the different nodes, as opposed to a series of isolated databases, we would have in practical terms a single database. It was important to focus on identifying the minimum data set to provide identification of a particular item. These minimum parameters would be of universal application. Some colleagues considered that that generally it would be questionable to relate Identity Management to a registration function in exclusion of other functions such as dispute resolution. Disputes were not limited to the second layer of rights management but could also relate to the identity management layer, for which some sort of adjudication process should be established. According to some colleagues, ISRC, ISWC and ISAN had some connection to this top level of identity management. The roles in this layer should be undertaken in a neutral and universal way and related to connecting different identifiers. A key data binder was the missing link between the fundamental identifiers and there was some argument in favor of a unique global identifier.
The question was put on whether it is possible to convince the industry of the need to connect the identifiers in a global, universal way and some responded that business case models should be prepared and a clear distinction should be draw between a public good and the public domain. Some clarifications were also provided in regard to interpreting the principle of absence of formalities enshrined in Article 5.2 of the Berne Convention.
2. Involvement of Users in the IMR
The Secretariat also indicated that the OC agreed to pursue a greater involvement of collective management organizations (CMOs) in the IMR stakeholder dialogue. A discussion ensued on whether users, sometimes referred to as DSPs or licensees, should be engaged in the stakeholder dialogue. Some colleagues preferred that users be involved immediately. Others indicated that they would rather wait until the participation of right owners had consolidated further. The Secretariat indicated that it had tentatively approached EBU, EDIMA, GSM and CCIA, without making any formal commitment. Some colleagues elaborated on the example of DDEX, an initiative launched by right owners and later joined by users. As a compromise solution, it was agreed that users should be invited after completion of the Study which is expected at the beginning of 2012.
3. Relationship between IMR and other Data - Sharing Initiatives
A number of developments where discussed in regard to different copyright infrastructure and database initiatives, including PPL sound recording rights and products registry in the cloud; ILANDORA; digitalmusic.org; and the Request for Information for the ISRC Interim Registry. A discussion ensued on the strengths and shortcomings of the ISRC and possible ways to improve it and on how the activities related to this standard should be classified according to the three layers (Identity Management, Rights Management and Usage) described above. The Working Group process for the elaboration of the GRD was also discussed. WIPO had been invited to attend the GRD Working Group meetings in October and December 2011. Several participants considered that the MIDEM Cannes event in January 2012 will offer an ideal occasion for the IMR CC to debate the final results of the Study and present some of its results to the music industry. Moreover, as the GRD Study will also be finalized by then it was possible to expect during the MIDEM a greater degree of clarity in regard the role of each initiative in order to minimize duplication.