Worldwide authors' royalties topped €7 billion for the second year running in 2008, despite an overall fall of 1.5%.

According to figures released today (Jan. 25) by CISAC -- the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, which represents 222 authors' societies from 118 countries -- a total of €7.035 billion ($11.4 billion) was collected for creators and publishers in 2008.

That was down on the €7.141 billion ($11.5 billion) logged in 2007. CISAC's annual Global Economic Survey attributes the 1.5% to major losses by a handful of societies who deal principally with mechanical rights, exacerbated by the overall impact of the global economic crisis on creators' revenues and the fluctuating value of the Euro. The 2007 total had capped four consecutive years of growth.

CISAC director general Eric Baptiste accentuated the positive in a statement on the figures. "This report shows that creators have benefited from the resilience of their societies," he said. "Authors' societies' efforts to develop new revenue streams, extend licensing, improve territorial coverage and cut costs kept incomes for creators relatively stable in 2008."

Despite the year-on-year drop, 60% of CISAC's members (60%) experienced growth in 2008. The report cites developing territories in Africa, Asia and Latin America as territories where its members enjoyed particular growth.

There was also a 2.3% increase in collections of public performance royalties, which rose from €4.853 billion ($7.878 billion) in 2007 to €4.965 billion ($8.060 billion) in 2008. However, that failed to offset a fall in mechanical rights royalties, which dropped 12% from €1.742bn ($2.828bn) in 2007 figures to €1.533bn ($2.488bn) in 2008.

The report confirmed that 64% of all collections, representing €4.51 billion ($7.3 billion), came from Europe.

"It is clear that creators are an integral part of the greater global economy and that their well-being impacts a great many industries," surmised Baptiste. "Decision-makers need to keep this in mind. To play a positive role in the economy, creators need effective legislation, a functional framework for collective management and licensing, proper tools to fight piracy, and copyright awareness."