Member update: payments during COVID-19
March 24, 2020
We have understandably had enquiries about whether COVID-19 and the associated necessary public health measures, as well as their economic impact, will stop or delay our payments to members.
I completely understand your concern, as many of you are particularly adversely affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. I’d like to assure you that we will do everything we can to ensure we continue our distribution schedule with minimal interruption.
As you know, a significant portion of our revenue is locked in under executed contracts (such as the schools sector and Governments) or is covered by court orders setting out minimum distributions (such as the university sector).
We have written to key licensees seeking assurances that they will be able to pay on time. None have yet indicated that they will not be able to do so. However, they are under pressure and we anticipate that some may face challenges for simple resourcing reasons.
To be clear, we also have copyright agreements with many private sector organisations who will quite possibly be impacted. We will work with these organisations to bill them and collect monies to distribute to members, whilst recognising the challenges we all face in these times.
To ensure we minimise risk to employees and contribute to ‘flattening the curve’ in the growth of COVID-19 infections, we have encouraged staff at the Copyright Agency to utilise our existing flexible working arrangements and, where relevant, work from home. Most of our employees are now doing so. Those who remain onsite are practising social distancing.
We do not currently anticipate that our work arrangements will delay distributions (with the exception of payments which have to be received from licensees that may have their own administrative issues, which are beyond our control).
I regret that we cannot guarantee anything, but I wanted to reassure you that compared with other sectors in the economy, many of the organisations we invoice are generally reliable and/or obligated to pay under court orders.
In relation to Cultural Fund grants, these will proceed in accordance with our normal timetable for such grant allocations. Where creators have a grant but feel they may miss a deadline, we suggest they contact our Cultural Fund manager Nicola Evans to discuss. We will be flexible and understanding here, given the times we are living in.
We are moving through uncharted waters. The situation is ever changing. I will update you regularly on our response to COVID-19 as things evolve.
I sincerely hope that you, your friends, family and work colleagues are as well as they can be in these times.