SACEM Luxembourg is gearing up to celebrate its 20th anniversary with a concert featuring local artists at Rotondes in Luxembourg-Bonnevoie on Thursday 21 September 2023.
Chronicle.lu had the opportunity to speak with Marc Nickts, General Manager at SACEM Luxembourg, about this upcoming celebration, as well as about the rights of authors, composers and music publishers in Luxembourg.
Chronicle.lu: SACEM Luxembourg is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year - what have been some of the most memorable moments (particularly in relation to the rights of authors, composers, etc.) for you over the years? What about the most significant changes/improvements you have seen in the area of intellectual property rights during this time?
Marc Nickts: Celebrating its 20th anniversary reflects a significant milestone shaped by the local music scene. Establishing a dedicated Collective Management Organisation (CMO) for authors, composers and publishers in our unique market was a pivotal moment. Over my seventeen years at SACEM Luxembourg, I've witnessed transformative changes. Evolving copyright laws demanded our advocacy for specific articles, ultimately enshrined in national legislation. Witnessing local artists achieve national and international recognition is an immense source of satisfaction. This recognition enables us to collect and distribute rightful earnings to the authors, composers and their publishers who contributed to their success. The evolving music landscape prompted us to innovate new methods for collecting and distributing author rights, reflecting the changing ways music is consumed.
Chronicle.lu: In relation to authors' rights, is there a time after which compositions, etc. are then 100% in the public domain?
Marc Nickts: In the realm of authors' rights, compositions enter the public domain 70 years post-composer's demise. This consideration involves all stakeholders to determine the precise public domain date.
Chronicle.lu: Is SACEM Luxembourg totally independent or is it linked (officially or unofficially) with SACEM in France? Are decisions on rates, etc. taken at a local or international level?
Marc Nickts: While officially linked to SACEM France, SACEM Luxembourg operates independently as a not-for-profit entity since 2003, with local decisions on rates and policies.
Chronicle.lu: What legal basis does SACEM Luxembourg have for enforcing collection of copyright fees?
Marc Nickts: SACEM Luxembourg's enforcement of copyright fees rests on Luxembourgish law, especially Article 4, empowering authors to authorise or withhold public performance and reproduction. The Berne Convention, widely signed, also solidifies author rights internationally.
Chronicle.lu: If a new establishment (a shop, pub, restaurant, café) wants to play music for its customers, whatever the genre, or it wants to play music from a radio, what does it need to do to respect authors' rights?
Marc Nickts: If you're an owner of a shop, restaurant, café or any establishment wishing to play music for your customers, you can honour authors' rights by declaring your music use and paying the necessary fees at SACEM Luxembourg. This grants you access to a vast collection of protected music, allowing you to freely play various genres. You can declare your establishment on our website, https://www.sacem.lu/en, to obtain authorisation from global rightsholders. Regular checks ensure compliance, upholding authors' rights and fair compensation. This simple process not only enhances your customer experience but also supports artists worldwide.
Chronicle.lu: Please tell us more about the upcoming 20th anniversary celebration. When did preparations begin and how did you/your team decide which acts to approach?
Marc Nickts: The 20th-anniversary celebration, guided by an internal commission, emphasises inclusivity and community engagement. Fostering diverse participation, the event underscores SACEM Luxembourg's role as a bridge between creators and users.
Chronicle.lu: What do you hope attendees will take away from this celebration?
Marc Nickts: The celebration's goal is to highlight SACEM Luxembourg's openness and passion for music. Attendees will recognise the organisation as a dynamic and approachable force advocating for his members' rights.
Chronicle.lu: Finally, the theme of this anniversary celebration is "Community & Diversity". How does SACEM Luxembourg plan/hope to continue to promote these ideals whilst protecting authors' rights in future (say in the next 20 years...)?
Marc Nickts: Under the theme "Community & Diversity", SACEM Luxembourg envisions continued promotion of these ideals. Embracing innovation, we'll adapt to new artistic formats while securing fair compensation. The next 20 years will see us as steadfast partners for members and users, ensuring artists can pursue their passions while being fairly rewarded.