[cc-community] Statement to AKM

andrew garton ag at apc.org.au
Sat Nov 15 19:38:13 EST 2008

Shame I didn't see this earlier... Austrian CC people were at the recent
Commons / Discourse workshops at the Elevate Festival in Graz.

Have you had any luck with this? I've only had one issue with AKM...
they believed another composer and myself were joint authors of a song
called "happy birthday"! Well, if it where true, it would be
sensational, but in fact the piece was incorrectly listed by the
broadcaster and only two of the 12 composers involved were attributed!


MR J. Young wrote:
> This is my statement to the AKM board (AKM is the rights organization in
> Austria). AKM refuse to talk with me. I ask a member of the CC Austrian
> community if they might possibly present this statement to the board of AKM
> or any of their partners in what-ever form you/they choose. Excuse the post
> being so long to the mailing list.
> Under new laws that were introduced to the EU, my understanding is that
> rights organizations are able to compete in different territories. This
> means that artists that have not signed an exclusive agreements can do the
> same, we have the right to be our own rights organization. AKM have known
> this for some time, yet have intentionally violated my human right to issue
> licences as i choose in conjunction with the contracts that i agree with.
> Artist join rights organizations for many reasons, some include.
> 1) to collect royalties.
> 2) to give media the legal platform to use the works that artists in the
> community create.
> 3) so artists can get together and make songs together and then have those
> songs performed in a public space, with the appropriate legal platform.
> It seems that AKM's policy is dominated by policies that revolve around the
> collection of royalties.
> With most household's having an Internet connection, the need for publishers
> and labels is much less. The Internet is able to copy many things around the
> world at the click of a button. Technology makes point 2 & 3 more important
> than 1 for new innovative creators. Unfortunately the way that the boards
> are elected in rights organizations (in Australia for example, for every 500
> dollars that an artist or publisher collect they get an extra vote) mean
> that the collection of royalties has dominated how these non-profit
> organizations operate, since they began.
> The ripple effect of this voting policy within organizations such as AKM and
> its partners is having a huge effects everywhere.
> AKM have instructed me that if I am to license my songs freely in Austria
> that I'm not able to collect any royalties. The new policies that allow
> competition within the European union, allow me to license what i create
> where i choose. My understanding is that its not possible to make something
> non-exclusive to exclusive under any laws within Europe. If my rights are
> under a non-exclusive management agreement, its my right to deal with those
> rights as i choose and be a member of ASCAP.
> If AKM choose to change their reciprocal agreements with ASCAP, this has
> nothing to do with me. I'm under no obligation to change the way i deal with
> my rights as a result of the way that AKM choose to deal with the rights
> that ASCAP issue in the territory of Austria. I can issue content for free
> and collect royalties where appropriate. Many spaces have no agreements with
> AKM or partners. Its my right to innovate.
> Consider that AKM is most likely more dependent on ASCAP's content than
> ASCAP is dependent on AKM's content. AKM offer artist a exclusive agreement
> rather than a non-exclusive one, AKM policy over many years I feel has put
> the market place (from my view) into a situation where very little
> competition exists for the use of sound recordings. The government with many
> NGO's and councils has had to step in and find solutions for artists that
> want to create. Now these non-government organizations look to be dependent
> on a system that maintains exclusivity for the artist contract.
> My view is that this means that the artist is unable to innovate and
> participate in the market place without the help of an NGO or a corporation.
> Yet these non-profits entwined with corporations look to no-longer be
> relevant to the modern creator. Any change that these non-profits
> manufacture in conjunction with corporations are sure to create more culture
> similar to that of the commercial culture already in place.
> The situation looks to have created a situation in Austria (Europe) where
> even the punk now has to fill in a form or join a queue with a begging bowl.
> The word independent means dependency on something that does not have a
> direct deal with a major, yet ultimately almost all the labels, publishers
> and artists that want to be heard through the centralized system (or even
> just on myspace it seems) are tied together via the rights organizations.
> Artists that are not dependent on AKM are in a situation where they have to
> prove that the songs they make are not within the catalog of AKM, for a
> space/media not to have a pay a fee for use of media.
> The policy's that AKM and their partners create ensure that the self
> publishing artists are at the mercy of the publishing system, yet with the
> Internet, publishing mechanism of the past are far less important.
> What's worse is that the commercial air waves of Austria seem mostly
> dominated by content that has arrived via a very competitive US market
> place, rather than performers within the community of Austria. Self
> publishing Austrian (European) artists rights are locked up under exclusive
> management conditions that do not allow rights to compete in the US market
> place, yet many create content suited to the American culture rather than
> Austrian culture.
> My intention has never been to collect royalties for the use of songs i
> create, the intention has always been to have people hear the songs. I have
> tried every commercial means possible in Austria (Europe) to get the
> attention of the people. Its just not possible for the type of music i
> create. The non-profit organizations that run most of the spaces in Austria
> are also not able to work in conjunction with me as I'm not with an Austrian
> cultural label or part of a culturally funded publisher. My only choice is
> often to direct license.
> My understanding is that my songs (that have been used in a major release
> film) also need the legal platform that rights organizations provide for use
> in the territory of Austria. If i was to stop collecting royalties in the
> territory of Austria (as AKM instruct me to do) for the use of the songs I
> create, then what platform does the media in Austria have to use those
> songs?
> My rights are managed under a non-exclusive agreement, this means i can also
> deal with my rights as I choose. As i understand it, its my right to do
> business as i choose in Austria. I ask that AKM allow me to do business as i
> choose with the songs that i wrote in the territory of Austria (Europe).
> Respect the licenses that i issue. As i said, I wrote these songs for people
> to hear them. The centralized media in Austria (Europe) has no interest in
> the works i create, for the reasons I explain above (from the point of view
> of my experience). The same problems in Austria can be applied to every
> European territory. I have been in Europe almost 5 years and found the same
> brick wall in every territory.
> The system is not valid anymore and is best dismantled or deregulated.
> The problems i have apply to all artists that want to tour with what they
> create around Europe that are not connected with the publishing industry, in
> some way shape or form.
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andrew garton

+ http://agarton.org/
+ http://apc.org.au/
+ http://secession-records.org/
Tel. +43 (0) 680 2139551 (Austria)

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