CISAC Prepares For Major Changes At Seoul Gathering

The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) is poised for one the biggest overhauls in its close to 80-year history.

LONDON -- The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) is poised for one the biggest overhauls in its close to 80-year history.

A steering committee, known internally as the G10 comprised of the largest society members, has been working on changes that will transform governance of the organization.

This proposal will be discussed during CISAC's general assembly, to be held Oct. 20 in Seoul, South Korea, during the organization's bi-annual Congress (which runs Oct. 18-20).

ELW understands that the changes will include, in the words of an executive from a major performing right society, the "morphing of CISAC from an organization that mimics the United Nations to an organization run like a corporation."

CISAC secretary general Eric Baptiste tells ELW that important decisions await the General Assembly in Seoul. "The last time CISAC's statutes were changed was in 1966," says Baptiste. "Since then, the landscape has changed; we have more societies from more countries. The changes are meant to bring more efficiency but also to better reflect the diversity of our members."

The General Assembly, also called the World Congress of Authors and Composers, is CISAC's highest representative. The Administrative Council and the Executive Bureau are the two executive bodies. The Administrative Council comprises more than 55 members elected to two-year terms; they in turn choose among themselves the 15 members of the Executive Bureau, which oversees the administration of CISAC.

Central to the proposed changes is the removal of certain statutory layers. Under the plan, the Administrative Council and the Executive Bureau will be scrapped and replaced by a 20-member board headed by an elected president and seconded by an appointed managing director. The board will consist of at least two members from each region, a structure Baptiste says will "better reflect the diversity of the organization." It will also "create a more responsive and cohesive structure that will makes things happen."

CISAC is currently headed by a president and a VP, although they do not hold any executive powers. They are elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term, renewable once. The president of CISAC is usually an author, and this position is not expected to change.

It is believed that a consensus among CISAC members for the new president of the board is Cees Vervoord, chief executive of Dutch society Buma-Stemra. "The smart money would be on him," says a source.

The new executive management is expected to run CISAC with a tighter rein on expenses.

The plan also calls for the CISAC Congress, which now takes place every two years, to be held only occasionally, every three to five years.

"With all these changes, CISAC will be more inclusive and better represent its members," says Baptiste, "while decisions will be more rapid and simpler to make. And we'll only spend the money that needs to be spent."