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Becoming a rights holder: Even simpler now

In January, our new rights administration agreement for performers and producers went online. Here is some background on this by Jenny Hinks and Sina Jantsch.

A few days ago, the new rights administration agreement has been published on the GVL website. What does this mean for GVL and its future rights holders specifically?

Jenny: GVL takes an important step in the direction of a paperless collective management organisation by opting for the new online rights administration agreement. Rights holders now have no longer paper in their hands, the entire process has been digitised entirely with the new rights administration agreement.

What did the agreement workflow look like in the past?

Sina: So far, we received agreements on paper as hardcopies. Everything arrived by post, the documents were then filed. In addition, producers had to send through certain pieces of evidence in addition to the actual agreement documentation in order to be able to enter into the rights administration agreement and to receive a labelcode. This way, a file quickly added up to 50 pages of paper.

Jenny: The performer agreement has become more comprehensive each year. It has been enhanced in terms of its contents and that means new forms were added, e.g. for rights management abroad. For our international rights holders, we also made the agreement documentation available in two languages. This means a lot of paper in the GVL archives. At our peak time, we stored about 150,000 performer agreements in about 1,800 folders with around 800,000 pages. Add to that another 10,000 producer agreements.

What happens now when the performer hits the button “conclude” in the new rights administration agreement on the GVL website?

Jenny: As soon as those interested in signing up have pressed the button, it is our turn. We get the information they provided via a review screen. There, we can verify whether all the material and evidence has been submitted in a complete and legible manner. We also check whether the person already has an agreement with GVL. Sometimes, it happens that people forget that they had already signed up as rights holders with us.

If something is missing to complete the conclusion of the agreement, we send an email asking the applicant to send us the missing documents. Once we have all the information, we can accept the application with just one click and confirm it by email. Of course, our rights holders still have the option to print a hardcopy of the agreement. This is, however, no longer mandatory. 

Sina: There is a set review and verification process for producers of sound recordings as well where we check that they have not assigned international rights already. Since the producer agreements usually relate to legal entities in terms of the contracting parties, there are other cross-referencing steps such as checking the trade register. If we issue labelcodes, we also adapt the new label name with existing labels in order to avoid duplicates. If everything is ok, we can press the green button and finalise the agreement.

What is the impact of the optimisation of the processes on the rights holders?

Jenny: Overall, our processing time of the new online rights administration agreement is much quicker than before. Dispatching the documents by post used to take several days in the past, so this delay no longer occurs and we no longer incur the related costs. Furthermore, the data, against the background of the GDPR, is neatly ingested into our systems. This means that performers and producers now can track all information directly in meine.gvl or label.gvl.

Sina: Another important point to make is: Because we need different details from producers than from performers, there are two different sets of rights administration agreements. This means that performers, who are acting as their own labels, should additionally complete the producers’ rights administration agreement, so that they do not lose out on remuneration on the label side. 

Juliane Fiedler held the interview.

Jenny Hinks

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Jenny Hinks has been with GVL since 2011 and runs the Performer Agreement team.  She is in charge of the entire admission process of performers at GVL. Her team looks after rights holders regarding their personal data and their national and international mandates. Before she joined GVL, the retail saleswoman worked in several industry sectors, including the music industry. 

Sina Jantsch

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Sina Jantsch joined GVL in 2013 and is deputy team leader of the Producer Agreements & Label Support team.  Holding this position, she is an expert in all questions surrounding the rights administration agreement for producers. Prior to joining GVL, the audiovisual media sales executive had been working at Embassy of Music GmbH for more than six years. That is where she completed her vocational training and subsequently looked after the compilations sector as a product manager.