One of Moldovan collective management organizations (see more about the activity of such organizations here), National Association “Copyright”, accused the director of the Moldovan national intellectual property agency (AGEPI) of lobbying the interests of certain big companies.
In a press-release issued on 25 June 2019 they stated that in 2017 the head of the Agency required the respective collective society to withdraw a claim submitted to the court against a major telecommunications company, otherwise the society allegedly risked their right to collect so called compensatory remuneration to be revoked by AGEPI.
This remuneration shall be paid by those persons and companies who produce or import the equipment and material support that can be used for the reproduction of works for personal use. Its rate is currently set at 3% of the value of sales of the respective equipment and material support.
Following the aforementioned incident, in October 2017, AGEPI withdrew the Association’s right to collect compensatory remuneration.
The Association claimed that the head of the Agency, Mrs Lilia Bolocan, obstructed the process of designating an organization that would administer the collection of compensatory remuneration in 2018 and 2019. They also claimed that she tried to lobby the interests of certain companies in Moldova to the detriment of authors and performers.
In response to these allegations AGEPI’s director claimed that for a number of years the agency tried to clarify the situation with the respective collective societies.
According to art. 26 of the Law on Copyright and Related Rights collecting societies, after deducting its actual costs of managing the respective rights, shall distribute the compensatory remuneration received in the following proportions:
– in the case of audiovisual works and video recordings – 40 % shall go to authors, 30 % to performers, 30 % to manufacturers of audiovisual works and video recordings;
– in the case of phonograms – 50 % to authors, 25 % to performers, and 25 % to manufacturers of phonograms.
AGEPI claimed that the major purpose of the respective societies in Moldova was not to represent the interests of authors, performers, and manufacturers, but rather to pursue their own interests and make a profit out of the process of collecting compensatory remuneration.
The Agency claimed that it required the “Copyright” Association to present the information about how the collected funds were distributed among the rights holders, however, it could not obtain full information on that. It also stated that the business of collecting the compensatory remuneration was worth millions, of which the vast portion was retained by the respective association.
AGEPI developed a draft legislative amendment that would cap the sums that the association can retain at 20 %. However, the “Copyright” Association declared that the amendments drafted by the national agency will damage the rights and interests of authors.