CAL’s 06-07 Annual Report

CAL’s 06-07 Annual Report

Russel Coker has published an article referencing some copyright related posts.  In passing he noted that the Copyright Agency Limited apparently doesn’t pay you distributions if your entitlement is below a certain threshhold.  His article prompted me to finish a blog post I had been meaning to do for some time – an analysis of one of CAL’s annual reports.   Every year CAL produces an annual report on their activities through the year (unfortunately CAL appears to have removed their 06-07 report from their website, so you’ll need to get a hard copy if you want to cross check these figures).  I thought it might be an idea to have a look at one of these reports to extract some information from it.


CAL’s revenue for 06-07: $116.4 million (@13)

CAL’s net income: $98.2 million (@13)

CAL’s expenditure is $18.1 million (@19 – a more precise figure for expenditure can be calculated from the tables in the  back of the report)

cal blog - diagrams incomevexpenditure

Distributions (ie amounts paid by CAL to members etc)

Amounts distributed by CAL to members in 06-07: $134.3 million (@11).  The report states this is unusually high because of some one-off accelerated payments (@39)

Category                            Paid     %
Authors:                           $10.9m    8.12%
Publishers:                        $95.3m   70.96%
Collecting Societies (Australian):  $1.5m    1.12%
Collecting Societies (Foreign):    $26.6m   19.81%


1. Almost 20% of the amount distributed was sent to foreign collecting societies.

2. Despite comprising only 36% of members (see below), publishers have received about 71% of the total distribution.

3. Given that Australian collecting societies comprise only 1.12% of the distribution it is probably not appropriate to give them too much weight.   CAL in its report makes reference to the fact that, including indirect members, CAL represents  28,000 rights holders.  Presumably the excess over the roughly 10,000 direct members are accounted for in this 1.12% figure.

4. A minority of the distributions were paid to authors (whether Australian or foreign – even assuming all of the money sent overseas went directly to authors and not 70% to publishers as in Australia).

As a graph:

Where the Money Goes

Where the Money Goes

Comparing CAL’s Admin costs to the Amounts it Pays to Australian Author Members

From above, we know that distributions to Australian Author members was $10.9 million, and that CAL’s expenses – ie the costs it incurs in operating/administering the scheme – were $18.1 million.  As a graph:

Admin Costs exceed Payments to Australian Author Members

Admin Costs exceed Payments to Australian Author Members

Overseas Collecting Societies

As per above, $26.6 million was sent to overseas collecting societies.  In return, CAL received $1.2 million from overseas collecting societies destined for Australian authors.

As a graph:

At least twice as much money is given to overseas authors than to Australian Authors

CAL pays foreign collecting societies more than Australian authors

Receipts from Overseas v Payments to Overseas

CAL paid $26.6 million to overseas collecting societies and received $1.2 million in return (@46).

CAL Pays much more to Foreign Collecting Societies than it Receives from Them

CAL Pays much more to Foreign Collecting Societies than it Receives from Them

Average Distribution Per Publisher, Author Members

Total distributions to Publishers: $95.3 million distributed among 3698 publisher members = $25,770

Total distributions to authors: $10.9 million distributed among 6574* non-publisher members=$1,658

* Note: the report does not expressly disclose the number of author members, but it is no more than the total number of members less the number of publishers.

Distributions per Author as Percentage of Average Adult Male Earnings

Average adult male weekly earnings in May 2007: $1,221 => per year: $63,528.40

Average distribution to authors = $1,658, or about  3% of average adult male earnings.

Average distribution to publishers = $25,770 or about 41% of average adult male earnings

As a graph:

cal blog - diagrams makingalivingoffcopyright

Making a Living off Copyright:

Based on these numbers, for an author member to receive average adult male earnings from CAL distributions roughly 33 other CAL author members would need to receive nothing.

How is Membership Broken Down (@23):

Publishers 36% (ie about 3698 members)
Journalists: 26%
Academics: 11%
Visual Artists: 7%
Other Authors: 17%
Surveyors: 3%

It is not clear how other collecting societies are categorised here.

As a graph:

How CAL Membership is Broken Down

How CAL Membership is Broken Down


9 Responses to “CAL’s 06-07 Annual Report”

  1. 1 samsung 9 September 2009 at 5:07 pm

    thank’s your post, i like this

  2. 2 Brianna 13 September 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Hmm! Thanks for breaking it down. I will file this away somewhere for future reference.

  3. 3 Liam 13 September 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Wow. I’m not really sure if I’m taking this all in but it certainly confirms my suspicions about CAL. It’s one thing to be a service provider (collecting and distributing royalties) but it’s quite another to be taking such a slice off the top. And, so much for the “we’re here to benefit authors” argument if the money is actually going to publishing houses.

  4. 4 sicakvideoo 28 September 2009 at 3:03 am

    keep going to blog please

  1. 1 Brianna Laugher (pfctdayelise) 's status on Sunday, 13-Sep-09 13:20:58 UTC - Trackback on 13 September 2009 at 11:21 pm
  2. 2 Liam Wyatt (wittylama) 's status on Sunday, 13-Sep-09 13:42:25 UTC - Trackback on 13 September 2009 at 11:42 pm
  3. 3 Twitter Trackbacks for CAL’s 06-07 Annual Report « Brendan Scott’s Weblog [] on Trackback on 14 September 2009 at 8:37 am
  4. 4 CAL Remunerating Itself « Brendan Scott’s Weblog Trackback on 18 February 2010 at 4:38 pm
  5. 5 Slattery, Bradley, Coker and is CAL useless? « Brendan Scott’s Weblog Trackback on 21 June 2010 at 11:57 am

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