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)
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:
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:
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:
Receipts from Overseas v Payments to Overseas
CAL paid $26.6 million to overseas collecting societies and received $1.2 million in return (@46).
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:
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)
Visual Artists: 7%
Other Authors: 17%
It is not clear how other collecting societies are categorised here.
As a graph: