Australian copyright society blows more than it gives to artists: lavish salaries and junkets to Barbados

The Copyright Agency Limited, an Australian copyright collecting society (an organization that collects money on behalf of authors for use of their copyrighted works) is spending more than half the money they collect than they give to authors on their own salaries and expenses. The Chief Executive is paying himself AU$350,000 a year out of the money that he is meant to serve as trustee for. They've also paid for staff junkets to China and Barbados out of the sums. All told, the staff are spending AU$9.4 million a year, and giving the creators whom they are meant to serve AU$9.1 million per year.

Among the highest paid at CAL was its chief executive Jim Alexander, who earned more than $350,000 last year, while another senior staff member earned between $250,000 and $299,000, another between $200,000 and 249,000, and five others between $150,000 and $199,000. A further 21 staff earned between $100,000 and $149,000.

In addition, the agency spent more than $300,000 on travel for its top executives, including a trip for its three senior executives to an International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations conference in Barbados, and a trip for four employees and board members to the Beijing Writers Festival…

In response to questions put to the agency by The Australian, CAL defended the proportion of its budget spent on salaries. "While licensing revenue grows, the complexity of CAL's business continues to require investment in systems and process improvements to achieve operational efficiencies and, in particular, to integrate with new international standards," Mr Alexander said. "Appointing and retaining key managerial staff to lead CAL through these system change projects is integral to its efficiency."

Copyright staff get more than they give to authors and artists

(Thanks, Dr Matthew Rimmer!)