SGAE: concerns, hopes for 2013 for creators and collective rights management

This week, Anton Reixa – CEO of SGAE – spoke at the Creators’ Conference in Brussels.  In a frank and thought-provoking speech, he outlined some of his concerns about the situation of authors in general and in particular in Spain.


Here are some highlights – you can read the full speech here.

Abolition of the Spanish levy system – a worrying blow for authors and communities

Anton emphasised the negative impact that halting the Spanish levy system has had for Spanish creators. In financial terms, levies used to represent 8% of authors’ income and next year authors will see their revenues decreased more than 90%. More broadly, as a proportion of the levies were fed back into collecting societies, the legal change has stemmed the social and welfare support that creators’ societies are able to provide. In the current economic climate, this has proved devastating.

At the same time, producers of large electronic devices have failed to reduce the price of their products to reflect that they no longer pay levies; pocketing the benefit that was meant for music fans.

Weaker author societies means weaker creators

The founding principles of author societies are being questioned across Europe. At the same time, authors are being forced to grant their rights to large stakeholders, which further weakens author societies’ negotiating power and, in turn, their capacity to defend them.

Economic importance of cultural and creative industry

Today creative industry represents in Spain more than 41.000 m Euros, 4% of the total added value/GDP and generates around 625.000 jobs, 3.1% of the total employment. The reduction of cultural budgets and public expenditure coupled with the rise of VAT in the cultural sector is life threatening the cultural and creative sector.

Revolution within SGAE – back on track

Since SGAE’s radical change in management and  internal rules in May 2012, the author society has gone from strength to strength. Previously far-removed from its members, it is now a society that is exactly as it should be: actively controlled by its membership. In fact, more than four times more members took part in SGAE’s internal reform than were ever active in the society before – and that’s a real vote of confidence and commitment.

You can read a Q&A between Anton Reixa and here.