Italian collecting society SIAE has elected a new president, Giorgio Assumma. Assumma, a 70-year-old lawyer who specializes in entertainment-related issues, won 50 of 51 votes at the society assembly in Rome today (Sept. 20). There was one abstention.
The society hopes that Assumma’s appointment will put an end to recent uncertainty concerning the society’s future. His predecessor Franco Migliacci — co-author of Domenico Modugno’s Grammy-winning 1958 international hit “Volare” — resigned on May 11. Over the summer, there had been considerable speculation in the Italian industry that the society would return to special government control or “commissionership,” a state of affairs that existed from 1999 to 2003.
“The society’s autonomy, which has come under considerable strain in recent months, is inviolable: it is the authors and publishers who should decide the fate of their society,” Assumma said in a statement. “Precisely because I have been elected democratically, I would continue to do this job, were I ever to get the feeling that the parliamentary commission did not approve of me.”
Critics of SIAE see commissionership as a means of redressing the society’s parlous finances. The majority of society members claim that its finances are in good shape and that government control is, on the contrary, an attempt by Italy’s political parties to get their hands on a powerful and lucrative organization.