Individual and collective management of authors' rights

For non-specialists, the unique concepts found in the sector of creation and copyright can be difficult to understand. Here are some key points to understand.

Our strength is in our unity. The fact that authors have grouped together within the SACD enables the Society to negotiate with broadcasters and producers on behalf of authors and to bring authors’ rights and demands to the attention of political institutes and professional organizations, both in France and Europe. It also makes it possible to centralize approaches that would otherwise be extremely difficult or even impossible to carry out on an individual basis, such as the collection and analysis of distribution data or the collection of usage data in France and abroad.

Collective management in broadcasting

Certain authors’ rights, particularly broadcasting rights, cannot be managed individually by authors.

In broadcasting, cinema, radio and online, authors have the right to authorize or prohibit the use of their work. However, broadcasters require these rights to be managed collectively. France Télévisions, for example, cannot ask each individual author for permission to broadcast a work for every one of its productions with a copyright. Here too, collective management bodies guarantee broadcasters with whom they have negotiated general contracts permission to use the works of all of the authors they represent. The SACD works in this capacity.

Furthermore, if all authors solicited TF1 or Netflix to obtain broadcasting data for every program and piece of work, for every one of its channels, for every author and every minute, we can only imagine the work an author would have to undertake to collect all the data necessary from broadcasters: this is simply unthinkable! Centralization is necessary to ensure efficiency.

Authors thus call on collective management bodies such as the SACD who collects broadcasting data from broadcasters as well as new media. The Society analyzes and compares these data with its own information, provided by authors in the work statements they submit.

This data analysis enables us to pay royalties to every author for each piece of work, each channel and each minute.

Collective management and live performance

In live performance, each work is used in one location for a pre-scheduled period. This constitutes individual management.

Why call on a collective management body for live performance authors? In order to guarantee authors’ rights, it is preferable to turn to a body capable of applying pressure during negotiations and potential disputes, all the while avoiding bureaucracy and time-consuming data collection activities.

In addition, it is because together we are stronger, both individually and collectively. Since the SACD represents all authors, it can negotiate advantageous general payment conditions from performing arts contractors for all artists – experienced and beginner alike. Beginners benefit from the same conditions as the experienced artists they will one day become. This is also an essential part of our work – a virtuous cycle for every author and for the dynamism and diversity of the arts.

The SACD also makes authors’ voices and views heard in regulatory and contractual negotiations. Furthermore, it negotiates agreements to showcase contemporary artists with business alliances for live performance, theaters, amateur shows, etc. This is especially important as at the SACD, every author retains the fundamental right to permit or prohibit the use of their work.

Individual management in broadcasting

Individual management (as opposed to collective management) refers to all the contractual elements between authors and producers.

As the SACD is not only a collective management body but also a society created for authors, it provides its members with various individual management services, including legal aid, contract negotiation and monitoring, surveillance of the use of their work, and more. In a contractual relationship, monitoring the use of works requires a level of vigilance that few authors are able to ensure themselves.

We also represent authors in collective negotiations with producer and broadcaster unions, alongside professional organizations, to defend their rights and perspectives on all contractual aspects and on the essential transparency of these contractual aspects. This is a fight led by the SACD both in France and on a European level.