Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Auteurs et Compositeurs

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The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (French: Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Auteurs et Compositeurs, CISAC) is an international not-for-profit governmental, non-profit organisation that aims to protect the rights of creators worldwide by advocating for strong legal protection of copyright and authors’ rights, and supporting a network of Collective Management Organisations (CMOs), also known as authors’ societies, copyright / royalty collection societies, collecting societies, or Performing Rights Organisations (PROs).

The president of CISAC is renowned French electronic music composer Jean Michel Jarre, who was appointed in June 2013. His predecessor was singer/songwriter Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, who served until his death in 2012 with painter Hervé Di Rosa serving as President in the interim. Currently, 230 authors’ societies from 120 countries are members of CISAC. Together, these authors' societies represent music publishers and approximately 3 million creators working in all artistic genres (music, audiovisual, drama, visual arts and literature).

In 2013, the royalties collected by CISAC's member societies in their respective national territories was €7.8bn.[1]

CISAC was founded in 1926.[2] Its international headquarters are located in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, with four regional offices based in Budapest, Hungary (European Affairs), Santiago, Chile (Latin American and Caribbean Affairs), Burkina Faso (African Affairs) and since January 2013, Beijing, China (Asia-Pacific Affairs).

CISAC is financed by membership dues[3] and has three official languages: English, French and Spanish.



CISAC was founded in France in 1926 by 18 authors’ societies from 18 European countries, representing at that time mainly the dramatic arts (i.e. playwrights and stage directors).

Authors’ societies are largely non-profit organisations that were established by creators to facilitate the management of their rights. A society’s main activities are granting licenses, collecting royalties and distributing these royalties to rights holders.

Since its inception, CISAC’s goal has been to unite authors and composers from around the world and promote authors’ rights. The founding missions, still valid today, were to coordinate the work of the authors’ societies, to improve national and international copyright law, to foster the diffusion of creative works and, in general, to attend to all common challenges regarding the protection of authors’ rights.

CISAC initially consisted of five federations for: dramatic performing rights, public performing rights, mechanical rights, literary rights and film rights. In 1966, CISAC united the five federations to form the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers as it exists today.

Recent history

Since 1994, CISAC has been working to improve data exchanges on creative works between authors’ societies. Known as the Common Information System (CIS) project, CISAC has worked on the development of ISO certified international standards for the identification of creative works and rights holders.

These include the International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC), the International Standard Audiovisual Number (ISAN), the International Standard Text Code (ISTC) and the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), a unique identifying number linked to contributors (such as a songwriter or publisher) and which complements CISAC’s Interested Party Information (IPI) System where more detailed information on the rights owner, accessible to authors societies, is held.

CISAC released "CIS-Net powered by FastTrack" in 2004, an Internet-based network for sharing musical works information between authors’ societies. At the same time, CISAC has been developing IDA, an International Database for Audiovisual works and their rights holders. By facilitating the identification of creative works and their relevant rights holders, such tools aim to speed up the distribution of royalties to creators for use of their works.

In 2004, CISAC revised its statutes, creating an annual General Assembly and a Board of Directors to oversee CISAC’s actions, allowing CISAC to impose rules on its members to ensure high professional standards and enabling CISAC to dedicate more resources to getting creators directly involved in the defence of their rights.

In June 2007, CISAC’s General Assembly elected singer-songwriter Robin Gibb (The Bee Gees) as CISAC’s President and Mexican film director Alfonso Cuarón as Vice-President. Gibb’s 3-year term was renewed in June 2010. French visual artist and painter, Hervé Di Rosa, co-founder of the artistic movement "Figuration libre", was elected Vice-President in 2010. The role of CISAC President and Vice-President is to voice the opinion of the international community of creators and to defend the system of collective management that protects their rights. Over the years, this role has been fulfilled by several renowned creators, such as Robert de Flers, Richard Strauss, Armand Salacrou, and Leopold Sedar Senghor.[4]

From 2007 to 2013, CISAC has organised the biennial World Creators Summit, an international forum to discuss with all parties the future of copyright and creators’ interests in the digital era.

CISAC adopted a series of Professional Rules for all of its member societies in 2008. The Professional Rules are a set of criteria related to the management of rights and the collection and distribution of royalties by which CISAC member societies should abide. The objective of these Rules is to ensure that CISAC’s members operate according to high standards of professionalism. This project was created to reflect greater transparency by authors’ societies towards various stakeholder groupings and the media.


The so-called "CISAC Case" began in 2006, when the European Commission issued a Statement of Objections against CISAC and 24 European Economic Area authors’ societies pushing for competition between authors’ societies for users with regard to licence tariffs for cable re-transmission, satellite and online uses of music.

After two years of consultations, the DG Competition issued a decision in July 2008 alleging that the 24 EEA societies had violated European competition laws.[5] CISAC was not included in the decision, nor were there any monetary penalties for the societies. CISAC and 21 of the 24 EEA societies appealed the decision in October 2008.[6] After receiving several written pleadings from CISAC, EBU and the Commission, the General Court of the EU scheduled an oral hearing for CISAC, on 19 October 2011. Oral hearings in member societies’ appeals were held between 28 September 2011 and 27 October 2011.[7] Following the oral hearings, the General Court will proceed with drafting a judgement on the parties’ appeals.

In parallel, CISAC is still in discussions with the European Commission, as its members work on a pan-European licensing model that will simplify licensing the use of the worldwide creative repertoire in Europe, whilst satisfying the requirements of the European Commission.

Mission and goals

To promote the rights and protect the interests of creators, CISAC develops an international network of Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) by providing them with political, technical, legal and financial support, and defining common rules and standards with which its members agree to comply.


As of June, 2014 CISAC's a membership organisation includes 230 authors’ societies from 120 countries,[8] indirectly representing around three million creators. There are three membership categories, depending on a society’s status and operations: Member, Provisional and Associate.[9] Authors’ societies are largely non-profit organisations that were established by creators to facilitate the management of their rights. As it is very difficult for an individual creator to monitor all uses of their work and negotiate payment for these uses, many choose to entrust their rights to an authors’ society. An authors’ society’s primary activities are granting licenses, collecting royalties and distributing these royalties to the right holders. Alternate names that are sometimes used instead of "authors’ societies" include copyright societies, collective management organisations (CMOs), performing rights organisations, copyright collectives and collecting societies.


CISAC's budget comes from annual membership dues, which are based on a percentage of the gross royalties collected annually by each member society.


Revolving around the General Assembly, CISAC’s highest representative entity, CISAC is composed of different administrative bodies that guide its operations and strategy.

General Assembly

CISAC’s General Assembly is composed of delegates from all of CISAC’s Member societies. The General Assembly elects the Board of Directors and CISAC’s President and Vice-President, and endorses the main resolutions, decisions and plans put forth by the Board of Directors. Only Members have the right to vote at the General Assembly.

President and Vice-President

The role of CISAC’s President and Vice-President is to represent the international community of creators and to defend the system of collective management that protects their rights. The current President of CISAC is Jean Michel Jarre (French composer and performer); current Vice-Presidents are the Beninese creator and singer Angélique Kidjo, the Senegalese sculptor Ousmane Sow, the Indian poet, scriptwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar, and the Argentine film director Marcelo Piñeyro.

Board of Directors

CISAC’s activities are governed by a Board of Directors composed of representatives from 20 of CISAC’s member societies and elected by the General Assembly for a three-year period. The Board’s composition reflects CISAC’s geographical diversity and the multitude of artistic repertoires it represents.

The current Chairman of the Board is Eric Baptiste, CEO of SOCAN; the Vice-Chairmen are Javier Gutiérrez, CEO of VAGA - a Visual Artists collecting society and Marisa Gandelman, CEO União Brasileira de compositores (UBC).[10]


CISAC's Director General is Gadi Oron, who was appointed in September, 2014. A lawyer by trade and an expert in international copyright law, Oron has been working with the creative industry for over 15 years and since 2012 has held the position of CISAC General Counsel. Along with the Secretariat, Oron oversees CISAC’s day-to-day operations.


CISAC has created a variety of committees that address a wide range of legal, strategic, technical, regional or creative issues related to authors’ rights.[11]


CISAC’s main activities are: setting professional standards for authors’ societies, implementing information systems to facilitate the identification of creative works and their relevant rights holders in order to speed up the distribution of royalties to creators, contributing to the development of authors’ societies around the world, advocating for authors’ rights internationally and building strategies to help societies deal with the changes brought on by the digital era. CISAC is an active participant within the international intellectual property community and collaborates with the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the UNESCO on matters of mutual interest.

Setting professional rules and standards for authors’ societies

CISAC provides tools to its members that promote best business practices for all repertoires, including:

CISAC model contracts for "reciprocal representation"

Reciprocal representation principles are the basis of the international network of authors’ societies. They make it possible for one society to represent the worldwide creative repertoire in their home territory. For example, if a Spanish society and an Australian society have signed a "reciprocal representation" agreement, the Spanish society can represent the Australian society’s repertoire in Spain and the Australian society can represent the Spanish society’s repertoire in Australia. They grant licenses for uses of each other’s repertoires and collect royalties for these uses.

Through this system of agreements, a content user (e.g. a radio broadcaster or a night club) can obtain a single license from their local authors’ society for use of the worldwide repertoire of creative works. This makes it possible for creators to receive royalties for uses of their works all over the world.

Professional rules and binding resolutions

In 2008, CISAC implemented a set of Professional Rules – binding principles with which all of CISAC’s members must comply. They include best practices in governance, financial management, communication, administration, and the management and exchange of information relating to creative works and their relevant right holders. Through the Professional Rules, CISAC aims to guarantee the quality of services offered by authors’ societies to both creators and users of their works by promoting high standards of corporate governance, transparency, and accountability.

Binding Resolutions, specific rules applying to the technical aspects of collecting and distributing royalties, are also in the process of being implemented.

To ensure that each member society operates in complete accordance with the Professional Rules and Binding Resolutions, they must undergo a Compliance Review.

Committees and think tanks

CISAC’s committees and think tanks address specific regional, technical, legal and creative issues related to the collective administration of authors’ rights. Meeting on a regular basis, these forums enable authors’ society professionals and creators to share their experiences and make recommendations for best practises across the society network.

Information networks and smart metadata

CISAC manages an international information system (called the Common Information System or CIS) for the exchange of information about works, their usage and the relevant rights holders between authors’ societies.[12] CISAC is also developing tools to facilitate information exchange between authors’ societies and their music publisher members, as well as other third parties (such as broadcasters, digital service providers, and record companies).

In the framework of this project, CISAC and its partners have developed:

  • a suite of ISO certified international standard identifying codes for musical works (ISWC), audiovisual works (ISAN), text works (ISTC) and right holders (ISNI),
  • several international databases (IPI for the identification of rights holders, IDA for audiovisual works) or networks of databases (CIS-Net, ISWC-Net),
  • a set of formats (Common Works Registration Format – CWR, Common Royalty Distribution Format – CRD) to standardise information exchanges between authors’ societies,
  • and a set of message formats (Digital Data Exchange – DDEX) to standardise information exchange between authors’ societies and Digital Service Providers.[13]

Development work

CISAC’s Regional Affairs Departments—located in Budapest (European Affairs), Santiago de Chile (Latin American and Caribbean Affairs), Johannesburg (African Affairs) and Singapore (Asia-Pacific Affairs)—work with the other departments of the Paris-based headquarters to implement development plans for authors’ societies in each region. Each Regional Director offers a combination of legal, financial and technical support, training and tools to bring all CISAC societies in line with CISAC’s professional and technical standards.

CISAC’s specific Training & Development programmes provide individual and group training for member society professionals. Training sessions deal with a variety of topics, including: compliance with Professional Rules & Binding Resolutions, licensing practices, creative works documentation, royalty distribution methods, Common Information System (CIS) tools, the principles of collective management, society governance and management practices, and international copyright law.

Advocating for authors’ rights

Another branch of CISAC’s activities is advocating for authors’ rights and serving as a spokesperson for its members at the international level. CISAC works in close collaboration with authors’ societies and governments to ensure local laws uphold authors’ rights. This work is not just carried out by legal experts, CISAC also gives creators the opportunity to express their views to politicians and lawmakers. It organises and participates in numerous training programmes and seminars for judges and content users (such as broadcasters) that aim to deepen their understanding of copyright, authors’ rights and licensing.

World Copyright Summit

In the past, CISAC organised the World Copyright Summit, an international forum that brought together authors’ societies, creators, industry leaders from the technology and entertainment sectors, policymakers and consumer representatives to discuss the future of copyright and creativity in the digital era. The first Summit took place in Brussels in May 2007. The next edition was held in Washington, DC in June 9-10, 2009. Gathering over 700 delegates, the third edition of the World Copyright Summit took place in Brussels, June 7-8, 2011,[14] with the final edition held in Washington DC in June, 2013.

CISAC also publishes reports on royalty trends to help its members anticipate and adjust to changing market conditions. CISAC’s annual report based on the royalty collection data submitted by its members analyses the numbers by region, repertoire and type of rights and looks at trends affecting the use of creative works and the payment of royalties.[15]

Key figures

230 authors’ societies in 120 countries (as of June, 2014) [16]


  • 103 societies in Europe [17]
  • 49 societies in Latin American and the Caribbean [18]
  • 30 societies in Africa [19]
  • 20 societies in Asia-Pacific [20]
  • 18 societies in North America (Canada – USA) [21]

Global Royalty Collections in 2013 by all of CISAC's Members:

  • 7.8bn total collections by CISAC member societies [22]
  • +4.6% growth in constant currency (year-on-year)[22]
  • Music accounted for 87% of overall collections[22]
  • Performing Rights made up 78% of total collections[22]
  • +17% growth in Latin America and the Caribbean[22]
  • +30% growth experienced in BRICS countries[22]

See also

Notes and references

  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5

External links