Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to attend another roundtable discussion about the problems of collective management organizations (CMOs). These organizations (in case anyone doesn’t know) are basically in the business of collecting money from coffee bars and restaurants for music played there, and distributing it among the creators. The fee is charged even if the bar owner bought the CD. The purchase of physical media does not exempt the bar owner from paying this fee.
The representatives of these CMOs complained about the low level of income, and in different ways repeated the phrase that the author should have the right to receive money for his work. The example of Western countries, where the mechanism of remuneration for the use of related rights works and brings the authors a good income, was cited. Again and again, participating in the legislative discussions, I heard complaints about the people and their legal culture. They say that our authors are good, but the country is not like that, and the people are not cultured.
I’m not ironclad – upset for the authors, too. I was sad. But then a thought occurred to me. It’s even worse for the designers.
In particular, let’s take the example of fees for music played in restaurants. There are a lot of problems in this matter: terms of distribution, determining who is going to collect, etc. But I want to focus on the principle behind the collection.
Using another person’s creative product to increase the profitability of an establishment is the main argument of rightsholders. However, why just the music? Doesn’t the designer who decorated the premises of a restaurant contribute to its profits? And the chef who prepared the dish? And the architect who built an attractive building? These professions also have a high level of authorship; they are creative professions.
I noticed that the suits that many of the people at the meeting were wearing – after all, they also promote careers. So why aren’t the costumers getting royalties from the many "users" every month? What’s more, I know a man who fixes shoes so much that his work has more in common with art than the activities of many of today’s performers. The design embodied in the thing is replicated similarly to a piece of music.
To be honest, I don’t know yet why this is the case. There’s just one little guess.
I think if only 4 companies owned the rights to 80% of the world’s design;
If designers had a worldwide organization that created lists of sanctioned countries;
If the U.S. Trade Representative held conferences and seminars on the topic of designers’ rights to remuneration;
if stories about designers who died of starvation were muscled on the TV stations with the most expensive airtime;
if there were parliamentary hearings on the topic of design rights protection
the situation would have been different.
In the meantime. For now, it’s better to send your child to music school than to art school. Copyright is in no hurry to equate designers with musicians.