Re: The role of subscription agents

Subject: Re: The role of subscription agents
From: Robbert Fisher (
Date: ti 16 heinä  1996 - 19:28:43 EEST

Emanuella Giavarra wrote:
>What role will be left for the reproduction rights organisations or other
>collecting societies?

I think Emanuella is correct. The question is not so much whether there is a
need for an intermediary organisation between the right-owners and the users
to facilitate licensing (Chris Rusbridge states some of the reasons clearly
in his 'nightmare scenario' of millions of objects and equally as many
licensing schemes) but whether the subscription agents have a role to play
and not (what might be more obvious) the reprographic rights organisations
and collecting societies who play a similar role (not the same!) in the
current 'paper world'.

In a sense the subscription agents maybe a way to avoid the problems of
kartel and competition legislation with standard contracts. If these
contracts would be more or less pre-scribed by a single collecting society
(in each Member State) it would probably be against competition rules, if
however several (commercial and competing) subscription agents offer a range
of possibilities (not millions but packages for instance) it might well be
within the competition rules.

Another issue against using subscription agents as copyright clearers might
be that we are moving into a multimedia environment and subscription agents
are mainly experienced in a printed text world and in dealing with
publishers, which positions them right in areas as for instance STM
publishing (where for the moment little real multimedia content is to be
expected). It does not cover areas where real multimedia publishing will
happen, and that is where the 'nightmare scenario' will be strongest.

Robbert Fisher
Coopers & Lybrand TechServ Team

+352 401162337

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