UA welcomes the acknowledgement in the Draft Report of the need to improve transparency in collecting society operations. In our submission to the Code of Conduct Review, we raised concerns about the lack of transparency around collecting societies’ use of statutory funds – including roll over funds – as well as a lack of transparency around the beneficiaries of the payments made by education sector licensees. The Draft Report includes a number of recommendations, in particular draft recommendations 4 to 10, that would go some way towards addressing these concerns.
UA’s preferred position is for these obligations to be contained in mandatory guidelines, on the basis that it should not be a matter for declared collecting societies to determine what standards of transparency should apply to their operations. Nevertheless, as a positive first step, UA supports the recommendations for amendments to the voluntary Code of Conduct to deal with transparency concerns.
Improving transparency in the ways recommended in the Draft Report is important to reforming the governance arrangements that apply to collecting societies. We wish to stress however, that the changes proposed do not address the other concerns raised by UA in the course of this review. We are still of the view that the degree of discretion afforded the declared collecting societies regarding how statutory funds will be used, is too high; and the level of effective oversight of the operations of declared collecting societies, too low. While we appreciate these issues may fall outside the scope of the current review, we urge the Bureau to include a recommendation in its final report for a holistic review of the governance arrangements applying to declared collecting societies.