Vladimír Repčík has announced that he is resigning as head of the Slovak Union of Copyright for Musical Works (SOZA), citing “personal reasons”. The SOZA management committee accepted his resignation, SOZA’s marketing manager Katarína Tomandlová said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
The SOZA committee met Repčík this morning (Wednesday, October 31) in reaction to continuing criticism of several, well-publicised flawed attempts by the organisation to collect copyright fees. On Thursday, October 25, critics protested against SOZA and its practices in front of the Culture Ministry in Bratislava’s SNP Square. The protest called ‘Stop SOZA! Hudbou proti výpalníkom!’ (Stop SOZA! With Music Against Racketeers!) asked – among other things – that Culture Minister Marek Maďarič launch an in-depth audit of SOZA and “draw consequences from the amoral attempts to racketeer money from children and students”, a reference to SOZA’s recent efforts to collect money for music played at school-leaving balls.
The protesters asked the ministry to strip SOZA of its licence, obtain a legal analysis on when SOZA can collect fees, and then make this binding for SOZA and other copyright-protecting institutions. Protesters also called on Maďarič to take a stance publicly on the activities of Repčík and open a public debate on changes in the form and means of executing copyright.
An amendment to the copyright law now awaiting President Ivan Gašparovič’s signature aims to prevent disputes between the organisers of cultural events and institutions administering collective copyrights. The amendment, drafted by MPs from the ruling Smer party, was passed in parliament on Monday, October 29.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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