Communiqué on the Crisis Affecting the SGAE and Copyright

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Lluis Cabrera at the FC Forum 2011:

In view of the crisis that was unleashed with the revelations around the Spanish collecting society SGAE, we must now demand a total overhaul of the system, not simply a whitewash.

The 7 points in the Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Culture, drafted at the 2009 FCForum:

  • Authors should always be able to revoke the mandate of the royalties collection societies.

  • Royalties collection societies are private organisations that should only and exclusively manage the “accounts” of their members, which are in no case the totality of the creative community.

  • Free competition among management bodies should be guaranteed, as it is with private bodies. Authors and artists should be able to freely register whatever works they wish to in any royalties collection society, while leaving other works unregistered, or registering them with a different society.

  • Authors and publishing companies should not be represented by the same institution, as used to happen in the times of vertical trade unions. All members should have a right to vote. One member, one vote.

  • Above all, royalties management societies should only manage the works that are registered in their data bases.

  • It should not be admissible for any royalties collection society to prevent artists or authors from using free licences.

  • Royalties management societies should not be able to manage our non-attributable taxes, and there should be no other obligatory collection of royalties. Non-attributable moneys should be managed by the state in order to stimulate creation.

The Communiqué on the crisis Affecting the SGAE and Copyright.

  • “The crisis currently affecting the SGAE shows that its actions have been harming author-musicians in several respects: the possible diversion funds on a large scale, management aimed at investments which are at odds with the purposes of the society, the exercise of its political influence in the approval of the very controversial digital levy. All of this is promoting a dangerous feeling of citizen resentment against artistic works, which stems from the abuses accumulated by the cultural and media industry in the course of its history.”

  • “In order for the process to be carried out in a transparent manner, the interests of authors should not be confused with the corporate interests that have perverted their nature. We need to pay attention to the role that SGAE plays in publishing companies, which control enormous catalogues of repertories, and to publicly reveal their links to the major record companies – which have, for decades, absorbed royalties in their contracts – and communication companies.”

  • “Instead of suspecting that authors or Internet users tend to propagate abuse in an irresponsible manner, let us welcome the contributions of specialists from all fields, position the controversy at a level that allows us to feel proud of sharing our art, technologies and dignity.”