Viscopy and Copyright Agency announce Services Agreement
Proposed agreement means better rights management and increased payments for artists.
A planned services agreement between two of Australia’s prominent rights management agencies, Copyright Agency and Viscopy, will see artists receive additional income, cut red tape and administrative fees and make it easier for organisations and businesses to license copyright material.
The proposed services agreement, under which Copyright Agency will provide membership, licensing and administrative services to Viscopy’s members and licensees, is anticipated to take effect from mid 2012 subject to regulatory approval. Viscopy members will continue to be served by the Viscopy board.
Viscopy was established specifically to provide rights management services to visual artists. Copyright Agency provides similar services for rightsholders including publishers, writers and artists, and was appointed in 2010 to manage the new artists’ resale royalty scheme. Viscopy Chair, Jeremy Thorpe, said the agreement is an important development which will deliver significant benefits to artists and simplify the copyright clearance process for artistic works.
“This is an exciting and bold initiative which will see the back office operations of both organisations integrated, increasing licensing revenue to visual artists and cutting administrative costs.
“At the same time Viscopy’s membership of more than 8,000 visual artists in Australia and New Zealand will continue to be served by its own Board ensuring consistent high quality services for visual artists,” Mr Thorpe said.
Sandy Grant, Copyright Agency chair said with convergence taking place across many industries, organisations like Copyright Agency and Viscopy need to re-think the way they operate.
“This is about sharing resources to deliver better results for the creators of works and the users of those works, alike.
“In an ever increasingly converging world the services our organisations offer sit more naturally together than apart,” Mr Grant said.
The proposed agreement will create a ‘one-stop-shop’ for any organisation wanting licence approval to use domestic or internationally created text and artistic content.
Other significant benefits of the agreement include: cutting administrative fees and overheads on royalties to visual artists under statutory licences; pooling Copyright Agency and Viscopy repertoires, increasing blanket licensing coverage and increasing payments for all members; new licensing revenue streams for visual artists; high-quality information and training to visual artists; and principal policy advocacy for authors and artists in international and local policy making. The agreement will be reviewed by both organisations after three years.
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission approved the agreement. It noted that the services agreement has the potential to improve the quality of services to artists and licensees through the reduction of transaction costs and increased access to copyright materials.
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The ACCC decision can be found online at http://www.accc.gov.au