ASMP Receives $1.3 Million in Orphaned Royalties

Posted on 8/6/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The American Society of Media Photographers disclosed that last December it received $1.3 million from the Authors Coalition of America, an organization that distributes non-title specific royalties generated by photocopying American works abroad to its members. Permissible uses of the funds are restricted to educational and advocacy activities.

The Authors Coalition is an association of 20 independent authors' organizations that represent over 120,000 creatives: writers, songwriters, visual artists, illustrators and photographers. The Coalition receives payments from countries where local laws require that royalties be paid to the country of origin for photocopying written or visual works when the individual rights-holder is unknown. Currently, these countries include Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, with additional agreements in development.

Prior to the Coalition's incorporation in 1994, these funds were received by the U.S. Copyright Clearance Center, which used it for copyright enforcement. The Authors Coalition offered a more effective way to channel the funds to the industries that generated them.

Using a pre-determined formula, the Coalition divides royalties among its member organizations. Use of funds for ordinary operating expenses is prohibited. Advertising Photographers of America, Artists Rights Society, Graphic Artists Guild, The Society of Illustrators and a number of writer and journalist organizations join ASMP as Coalition members.

According to ASMP, this payout was the largest distributed by the Authors Coalition at the same time. ASMP management has been considering how to use the funds and expects to announce details later this year.

At the moment, however, the interest is focused on why the organization waited over seven months to disclose the windfall to its membership. In fact, Photo District News suggests that today's ASMP announcement was forced: A member photographer disagreed with keeping the transaction a secret and spoke to PDN. Reportedly, ASMP issued a statement when it found out about the article.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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