Australian Copyright Agency Paid Itself More Than It Distributed To Content Creators

from the ah,-bureaucracy dept

One of the key problems we have with any sort of collection agency/performance rights organization/collective licensing scheme is that they introduce an unnecessary bureaucracy into the equation and, as a result, money gets redirected from the actual creators to the bureaucracy itself. It's a giant economic inefficiency that harms content creators. Case in point: Michael Geist points us to the news that the Australian copyright collection group, The Copyright Agency Limited, spent more on its own staff than it gave out directly to content creators. In 2009, it paid its staff $9.4 million, and it disbursed... $9.1 million directly to content creators.

Now, to be fair, the article buries the fact that CAL also gave $76 million to publishers "on the assumption that a proportion of this money will be returned to authors," but it also notes that it has no checks to see if that money is ever distributed. In other words, CAL doesn't actually do anything concerning that $76 million other than pass it on to other bureaucracies (not content creators) -- who might just be keeping it, rather than disbursing it. As the report notes, CAL collected $114 million last year, and can only say, for certain, that $9.1 million got distributed to actual content creators. Now that's efficient! Certainly, some of that $76 million may have reached content creators, but no one knows for sure.

So, again, we're left wondering why such a setup makes sense at all? All that's happening is that money that could go directly from fans/consumers to content creators gets filtered through inefficient bureaucracies that take huge cuts. That harms content creators.

Filed Under: australia, collections, copyright
Companies: copyright agency limited


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2010 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re:

    "Since when did having the ability to do what you want with your creation become a privilege?"

    They have a right NOT to create, whether they want to create or not is their right. Once they distribute their work to the public it is not their right to control what others do with it, that's a privilege, and UNOWED privilege, one that others, including taxpayers, are not morally obligated to grant or to fund the enforcement of such privileges.

    "It is the right of the content creator to publish it in the manner that they see fit."

    It is their right to decide if they want to publicly publish it or not. It is NOT their right to tell others what they can and can't do with it once published. It is NOT their right for them to create expensive government bureaucracies that taxpayers must pay for to enforce unowed privileges.

    "This generation of entitled babies is exactly what is wrong with the system."

    This is a generation of entitled babies, they feel entitled to an UNOWED monopoly.

    "It is not your right to have free access to any content you desire."

    No, what it is not is it is not their right to restrict my rights to such access.

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