At the end of last year, the Copyright Agency and Viscopy formally merged. This was after a five year “services agreement” where the two organisations merged their backend operations but maintained two Boards and two separate memberships.
Between them, the organisations represent around 40,000 direct and indirect members, ranging from visual artists and illustrators to journalists, cartoonists, surveyors, educational authors and publishers. The merged entity is now simply the Copyright Agency.
What does this mean for visual artist members?
Both the Copyright Agency and Viscopy had visual artist members – many of whom already belonged to both organisations.
But members who only belonged to Viscopy, are now Copyright Agency members in a new class of membership called Artist Member.
Previously, Copyright Agency members were only known as either Authors (a term that included writers and artists) or Publishers. Under the conditions of the merger, the new class of membership has been developed and visual artists who were Viscopy members are now Artist Members of Copyright Agency.
Visual artists joining the organisation will automatically join as Artist Members.
An Artist-designated Board Director
Under the merger, an Artist Director has been added to the Copyright Agency’s Board, and in future, the Artist members will elect the Artist Director.
In the interim, artist Dr Oliver Watts has been nominated as the Interim Artist Director until the 2018 AGM. Dr Watts was a Viscopy Board Director and also curated and helped judge the John Fries Award in 2015 and 2016.
The Copyright Agency Board (currently of 10) now comprises:
- One Author director elected by Copyright Agency’s author members
- One Publisher director elected by Copyright Agency’s publisher members
- One Artist Director elected by Copyright Agency’s visual arts members (Dr Oliver Watts has been nominated Interim Artist Director)
- Two directors appointed by the Australian Society of Authors (the ASA Directors)
- Two directors appointed by the Australian Publishers Association (the APA Directors)
- Up to four independent directors appointed by the Board
Copyright Agency CEO, Adam Suckling, said “This is a significant moment in the history of these two organisations. Not only is it a positive move for members and the industry, it will help us drive efficiencies and ensure we can increase distributions to visual artists.”