INTERVIEW FOR CRSEA
The Chairman of The State Service of Intellectual Property and Innovation under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic D. A. Moldosheva
─ Ms Moldosheva, what role does Kyrgyzpatent play in regulating copyright in the Kyrgyz Republic?
─ In accordance with the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic “On Copyright and Related Rights”, Kyrgyzpatent promotes the creation of legal conditions for the development of creativity in the field of science, literature and art, the realization of the rights of authors and owners of related rights, including the right to appeal to the court. Also, in the absence of specialized public organizations, Kyrgyzpatent assumes the function of collective management of property rights of authors and copyright holders, concludes agreements on the use of copyright, collects, distributes, and pays remuneration – royalties.
National authors can conclude a written agreement with the agency and voluntarily transfer to us the authority to exercise their property rights. Relations with foreign authors are built otherwise: the protection of their rights occurs in accordance with agreements concluded with the relevant foreign collective management organizations.
At the moment, we have concluded 1230 agreements with authors, performers and rightholders for the transfer of powers to manage property rights, of which with authors – 746, with performers – 415, with heirs – 69.
Kyrgyzpatent also carries out state registration of works. As in many other countries, in our country the registration of works is voluntary. It should be noted that the interest of our authors in the registration of their works is increasing every year. At present, about 5,000 works are registered in Kyrgyzpatent, the authors of which have received certificates.
The agency has introduced an electronic filing system to improve efficiency, this significantly saves the time of authors and applicants. Legal entities involved in the development of software products have become the most active users of the electronic services. Thus, the indicators of state registration of software products in electronic format have doubled.
─ How do you assess the results of the work of Kyrgyzpatent in the field of collective management of the rights of authors and copyright holders in 2019?
─ Last year, the agency’s activities were mainly aimed at improving the collective management system. We actively cooperated with authors and copyright holders, carried out large-scale work to increase royalties, conclude licensing agreements, and reduce receivables from payers. In principle, many positive results have been achieved.
For example, in 2019, the collection of royalties amounted to about 12.5 million som. This is 13.6% more than in 2018. The growth in the conclusion of licensing agreements with users of copyright and related rights amounted to 8%.
Kyrgyzpatent also pays great attention to improving legislation in the field of copyright and related rights. Effective regulation is necessary to create favorable conditions for the development of creativity and attract investment in the creative industries of the country.
It is worth mentioning the amendments to the Decree of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, introduced at the initiative of the agency. The decree determines the amount of monthly fixed rates of royalties for new categories of users – fitness centers, hotels, beauty shops, and others. For this, special formulas have been developed, by which calculations are made. Kyrgyzpatent also initiated the adoption of a resolution regulating the activities of public organizations for collective management of rights.
─ Why the idea came up to transfer the collective management of the property rights of authors and copyright holders into the hands of a public organization?
─ Many countries have a system of collective rights management. This type of activity is usually carried out by public organizations created by the authors and copyright holders themselves. This is a successful, well-established international practice.
On May 27, 2019, the Agreement on the Procedure for Managing Copyright and Related Rights on a Collective Basis entered into force in the Eurasian Economic Union. The document is aimed at increasing the transparency of the work of organizations for collective management of rights and ensuring an equitable distribution of remuneration to copyright holders. The adoption of this Agreement is an important step towards the creation of an effective system of collective management of rights in the EEU countries. In the future, it is necessary to continue to raise awareness and public confidence in the activities of CMR organizations.
The experience of the EEU member countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia) shows that the rules on issuing permits for the activities of CMR organizations should be determined in copyright laws and regulations. That is, there should be a system of state accreditation.
In our legislation, regulations on creation of a public organization and obtaining approvals by Kyrgyzpatent have existed since 1998, but the mechanism for issuing approvals has not been defined. In this regard, the Department developed a draft approved by the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. The document defines the conditions and procedure for issuing approvals, as well as control by Kyrgyzpatent over organizations that collectively manage the rights of authors and copyright holders.
─ According to your forecasts, will there be a transfer of management of the rights of authors and copyright holders of a public organization as early as 2020, and are there potential structures that could take on this role?
─ Of course, there is interest on the part of the creative community in CRM organizations. However, so far there have been no written applications from public organizations for approvals to establish a collective management organization.
We hope that a public organization will soon appear in our country, which will be able to adequately develop the system of collective rights management and defend the interests of domestic and foreign authors and copyright holders.
─ Is there a transitional period foreseen and will there be a division of spheres of management?
─ The transitional period for public organizations is not provided for by law. Regarding division of management spheres, it should be said that in the Kyrgyz Republic it is allowed to create organizations that manage property rights on a collective basis, but not more than one organization to manage one category of rights or holders of rights.
In total, about six such categories can be distinguished, which include the management of exclusive rights to published music in relation to their public performance; exercise of the rights of composers to receive remuneration for the public performance of their works; management of the droit de suite (resale royalty right) to a work of art; exercise of the rights of authors, performers, producers of sound tracks and audiovisual works to receive remuneration for their reproduction for personal or commercial purposes and so on.
─ Do you have any plans to develop other areas of collective management in Kyrgyzstan, in particular, the droit de suite (resale royalty right)?
─ Currently, about 500 artists are members of the Union of Artists of the Kyrgyz Republic. Art galleries and shops specializing in the sale of works of art are very few even in the capital. At the same time, there has become a noticeable tendency to connect shopping and entertainment centers, hotels, cafes, and restaurants to the art market, exhibiting works of domestic artists in their interiors.
The Union of Artists has an Art Fund through which artists can fulfill orders for works of art. In turn, famous and successful artists often sell paintings from their own workshops, without resorting to the services of specialized stores and galleries.
Auction activity in the country at the moment is also poorly developed; it is rather one-time in nature and is initiated by media personalities in the framework of various art projects.
Most Kyrgyz artists know very little about droit de suite (resale royalty right). Nevertheless, they positively assess the prospect of creating an organization (society) to exercise the rights of artists. I think the emergence of such a society in the Kyrgyz Republic is a matter of the near future, if active and professional specialists who are versed in the art market take up its organization.
─ Is there any prospect of introducing a mechanism for collecting remuneration (royalties) for private copying?
─ According to the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), a system for collecting royalties for private copying is successfully working in 38 countries of the world. It should be noted that of the EEU member countries, this system is used only in Russia.
Private copying regulations are also included in our legislation. Moreover, Kyrgyzpatent has already developed draft documents defining a fundraising procedure for paying royalties to authors; performers and manufacturers of sound tracks and audiovisual works by importers of equipment and tangible media used for free reproduction of sound tracks and audiovisual works for personal purposes. The Agency has repeatedly made attempts to agree on a draft document with the customs authority and has proposed the creation of an interagency working group on this issue. Unfortunately, so far to no avail.
The Agency plans to further promote this project. According to studies of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), it is precisely with the introduction of the fee for private copying that a significant increase in the amount of royalties is associated.
─ Recently, media have been talking about the modernization of copyright in Kyrgyzstan. Please tell us more about this.
─ By the Presidential Decree of the Kyrgyz Republic, 2020 was declared the year of development of regions and digitalization of the country and support for children. As part of the implementation of the Decree, one of the main tasks of Kyrgyzpatent was the automation of production processes, support and development of information systems of the Agency. Centralized data storage and uploading to the Internet for future use guarantees a high level of identity of the final results.
Automation of the Agency’s activities in terms of collective rights management implies introduction and development of modern digital technologies that allow improving data exchange process, protecting the rights and interests of represented authors and rightholders. To achieve its goals, Kyrgyzpatent is introducing a new software product HyperGraph, which was provided as part of our membership in the Confederation of Rightholders’ Societies of Europe and Asia (CRSEA). The implementation of this software will ensure transparency of reporting and effective management of the rights of authors and rightholders.
The system modernization will greatly facilitate our work with authors data, reports of television and radio companies, information about payers of royalties. Authors will be able to view information about the accrued amounts of royalties and information about the works used online in their personal accounts.
─ Kyrgyzpatent is known for its active role in international activities. Please tell us about your key partners and projects.
─ The Kyrgyz Republic participates in many international treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, our key partner in the development of the area of intellectual property.
Since 1998, we are members of the WTO, therefore, we have undertaken obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The Kyrgyz Republic, in principle, is ahead of most post-Soviet countries in the number of multilateral treaties in the field of intellectual property. At the same time, we did not chase the number of ratified treaties, but focused on creating favorable conditions for local and foreign rightholders.
In addition, we cooperate with partners within the CIS; for example, we participate in the Interstate Council on Legal Protection and Intellectual Property Protection. Since 2015, our Republic is also a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, in the framework of which agreements on intellectual property rights have been concluded.
The positive dynamics of the development of multilateral and bilateral cooperation can be noted, the geography of cooperation is increasing. Last year alone, we signed four bilateral documents, three of which in the framework of visits at the top level – in the presence of the leaders of the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and Mongolia. We actively participate in international events dedicated to intellectual property, and at the global level we defend the interests of the country and our authors.
Since May 2017, Kyrgyzpatent has been a full member of CRSEA, which has become our main partner in the field of copyright. One of the major joint projects, we consider the introduction of a software package for copyright holders and organizations for the collective management of copyright and related rights – HyperGraph. Currently, HyperGraph software has been installed, work is underway to enter and reconcile data, as well as adapting the software to Kyrgyzpatent’s business processes. It should be highlighted that during the past year we were provided with technical and consulting support from CRSEA, and Kyrgyzpatent employees were trained in the development of the HyperGraph software product.
As part of the curriculum and with the financial support of CRSEA, two Kyrgyzpatent employees study at the magistracy of the Russian Academy of Intellectual Property.
The implementation of HyperGraph software will allow the agency to improve the quality of management and significantly improve the work while implementing the collective management function of property rights of authors and copyright holders.
─ What is the role of Kyrgyzpatent in counteracting piracy? What is the mechanism of interaction with market participants and regulators in this matter?
─ Rights protection issues are within the competence of law enforcement agencies, antitrust and customs authorities. Moreover, the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic has been assigned separate functions in terms of regulating the activities of broadcasting organizations. The agency works closely with these state bodies in terms of expert consultations, various events, conferences, social events, seminars, round tables and so on.
In 2019, a large-scale information campaign was held to combat the illegal use of copyright objects, in the framework of which competitions were held among young people for writing the best essay and creating posters on the topics: “Stop Piracy” and “It’s Time To Start Honest Business”. Active work was carried out to inform the public and place posters, banners, ads in electronic and print media. Also, in all regions of the Republic, banners were placed on billboards: “Respect Copyright”, “Register a Trademark”, “Counterfeit Products” and “Original vs. Fake”.
To effectively combat violations of intellectual property, it is necessary to have highly qualified experts at the state level. Kyrgyzpatent provides specialized training for law enforcement, customs, and judicial officials. For example, in 2019, in the short-term training courses, 142 employees from 25 organizations and 13 universities improved their qualifications in the field of legal protection and intellectual property protection. Over 600 people attended the agency’s guest lectures.
Since 2018, Kyrgyzpatent has been cooperating with the Association of Television and Radio Broadcasters of the Kyrgyz Republic. In the framework of this cooperation, joint meetings and trainings on copyright and related rights for employees are held on an ongoing basis.
─ What are the main vectors of development of the agency in the near future?
─ The most important task of state bodies and local self-government bodies of the Kyrgyz Republic will be the implementation of the Digital Transformation Concept “Digital Kyrgyzstan 2019-2023”. In 2019, Kyrgyzpatent has already joined the “Tunduk” system of interagency electronic interaction, to which 15 of our information systems on intellectual property, including copyright, are currently connected. Information is exchanged with government agencies through “Tunduk” system.
Kyrgyzpatent and its subordinate agencies have switched to an updated version of the electronic document management system “Infodocs” using a cloud-based digital signature from the state-owned enterprise “Infocom”.
We continue the work on digitization of funds and creation of electronic catalogs, automation of library processes of the State Patent and Technical Library at Kyrgyzpatent.
April 26 is the International Intellectual Property Day. We use this opportunity to tell the wider public about the development of innovation and creativity in the context of intellectual property. The theme for 2020 is the Key Role Of Innovation In Securing A Green Future. The main venue for the event will be the State Patent and Technical Library at Kyrgyzpatent (GPTB), which will be transformed into a multifunctional innovation center. Such spaces as Fablab, Youth iLab – a production and innovation laboratory with co-working – will work here; conference room and rooms with modern equipment for working with startups and creating a strong Event-Management Group; Front Desk is a single information portal for innovators with a database of mentors and startups.
As for copyright, we will continue to work on the implementation of HyperGraph software to automate the accounting and distribution of royalties.
─ In what major events Kyrgyzpatent will participate in 2020?
─ One of the major global events in the field of intellectual property is the election of Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In this regard, we plan to participate in the session of WIPO Coordination Committee, WIPO General Assembly, the Assemblies of Paris and Berne Unions.
An important event will be the Chairmanship of the Kyrgyz Republic at the Administrative Council of the Eurasian Patent Organization this fall in Bishkek. Also, this year we will take part in the 9th meeting of the Interstate Council on Legal Protection and Intellectual Property Protection.
Participation in and organization of such significant events is very important for us. Development of intellectual property is a priority for the state, but it is impossible to achieve significant results here without sharing experience with other countries. Professional events are very effective platforms for obtaining the necessary information about best practices, strengthening existing partnerships, establishing useful business contacts for joint projects and much more.