Creators' organisations as actors in copyright policy: mapping the complexity of stakeholder behaviour, dynamics and differences.
Kostova, Nevena Borislavova
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A basic tenet and challenge of copyright law is the need to balance the interests of a range of stakeholders, from authors and performers to publishers, producers, broadcasters, intermediaries, service providers and the general public. To ensure that this balancing act takes place, policymakers involve organisations representing these stakeholders in the development of policy and the drafting of legislation in several ways, including through meetings, public consultations, and stakeholder dialogues. However, the process by which stakeholders steer the course and substance of copyright law and policy, their behaviour, as well as the varying extent to which they impact and characterise the copyright policy framework, have rarely been the specific focus of empirical research in IP. The present thesis examines creators’ organisations (COs) as participants and shapers of copyright policy. Through a socio-legal study into the workings of The Society of Authors, the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, the Musicians’ Union, and the Performing Right Society on several contemporary policy issues, the thesis observes how two types of organisations: trade unions and collective management organisations, across the music and publishing industries, engage in policy work. Through in-depth analysis of primary data obtained from interviews with CO representatives as well as documentary data (public consultation responses, policy briefings, press releases, reports, academic studies, and more), the thesis captures and discusses differences in the behaviour of these actors and argues that these differences are not fully understood by policymakers. It illustrates how factors such as an organisation’s mandate, resources, membership composition, political power, and self-concept, influence an organisation’s policy proactivity. Some actors may be more concerned with influencing the copyright policy agenda itself, while others primarily seek to shape its outcomes. The thesis also identifies power dynamics and imbalances between the COs and argues that some actors are in a better position to effectively participate in policy compared to others. Furthermore, it discusses the effects of the plurality of actors with varying interests and priorities, as well as the competition of policy issues that this provokes. In this context, the thesis illustrates the complex structure of the copyright policy environment and, in particular, the role of umbrella organisations and ad-hoc coalitions in the furtherance of a particular policy issue or position. It concludes that as a result of complex stakeholder dynamics, power imbalances, and policymakers’ insufficient understanding of these phenomena, certain creators’ issues will not surface onto copyright policy agendas and will thus remain unaddressed by copyright law. The thesis further concludes that complex stakeholder dynamics challenge the objective of developing evidence-based policy and render the copyright policy process unclear and its outcomes unpredictable. Given the disparity of views and positions on many copyright law issues, policymakers often attempt to shape law and policy outcomes as a compromise between different stakeholder interests. However, this does not always produce sound or appropriate results for copyright law.