The Arts Law Centre advocates for Greater Transparency in Fees charged by Copyright Collecting Societies
The Arts Law Centre of Australia has successfully lobbied Copyright Agency Limited, Screenrights and Viscopy to make changes to the information available on their websites concerning the fees charged by them to administer the collection and distribution of copyright royalties. Arts Law had found that many artists were confused about the collecting societies’ schemes of fees and the financial consequences of using one collecting society as an agent in relation to royalties collected by another.
For example, artists who are not signed directly with Copyright Agency Limited or Screenrights can receive any statutory royalties due to them from those societies through their Viscopy membership. If so, both collecting societies will take a commission for their service. Direct membership of Copyright Agency Limited would only incur one commission.
Arts Law suggested ways in which such information could be made more accessible to members. As a consequence of these efforts, each of the societies amended its website.
Arts Law also made a submission to the Code Reviewer who reports annually on the copyright collecting societies’ compliance with their Code of Conduct. In his 2010/2011 report released in January 2012, the Code Reviewer reinforced the critical importance of transparency in all dealings with collecting society members.
Arts Law will continue to monitor this issue and is preparing its own information sheet detailing the commissions charged by the major collecting societies on the royalties they collect. A detailed analysis of this issue will appear in the next ART+law newsletter.
The annual Code Reviewer’s report can be viewed here: http://www.apra-amcos.com.au/downloads/file/ABOUT/Code-Of-Conduct-Report-2011.pdf