27 May, 2016
The AWG Authorship Collecting Society in 2015 had its biggest year ever, collecting more than $2-million for Australian performance writers.In his annual report, AWGACS Chairman Tim Pye also said that – coupled with affirmative action in placing the importance of secondary royalties firmly in the public eye and raising the status of writers – the year was arguably also the most successful year in the society’s history.
Presenting his report at the 2016 AGM, Tim acknowledged that while some of this remarkable result was due to the lower value of the Australian dollar relative to the currencies in the territories where the AWGACS collects, it was also due to the expansion of the organisation, the diligence of staff and the streamlining of collection processes.
He said that, in the past year, AWGACS had signed four new reciprocal agreements with overseas collecting societies, bringing the total to 29, and the society’s Australian membership had grown by 66 to 1,520.
He also gave an overview of the current legal proceedings launched against Screenrights in the Federal Court of Australia. He said these were aimed at recovering secondary royalties already collected in Australia by Screenrights but not distributed and at changing the way Screenrights distributes script royalties in the future.
“The AWGACS board, the National Executive Committee of the AWG and our legal counsel remain confident that our case is sound and that this is a very important battle we are determined to win. We are duty bound to pursue this action on behalf of all current and future members.”
On related matters, Tim said that AWGACS continued to build on its presence within CISAC, the international association of collecting societies and with Writers and Directors Worldwide. In November last year he was elected to the WDW executive committee, which is currently mounting a campaign for fair remuneration for authors internationally. “This is a very good fit with our action against Screenrights and the looming battle to prevent the adoption of US-style ‘fair use’ provisions in our Copyright Act.”
He concluded by thanking the AWGACS board and staff, who had shouldered an enormous workload, with thousands of titles currently in dispute with Screenrights, every one of which required close attention.
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