F R E Q U E N T L Y A S K E D Q U E S T I O N S
Authors Coalition of America FAQs
Q. What does ACA do?
A. We collect money from various foreign and domestic Reprographic Rights Organizations and distribute it to our Member Organizations who use it for the benefit of published authors.
Q. How is ACA organized?
A. Authors Coalition of America LLC was originally incorporated in New York in 1994 and reincorporated in Delaware on April 21, 2008.
Q. Who owns ACA?
A. ACA is a membership company and, for practical purposes, functions as a partnership. The benefits flow through to Member Organizations and are not taxed at the ACA LLC level.
Q. Who are the Member Organizations and how are they chosen?
A. Each Member Organization must meet certain standards. Through our website, personal, and professional contacts, we make it known to organizations that might be eligible that they should apply.
Q. What are those standards?
A. Briefly all members are American author organizations with 500 published authors whose primary purpose is the professional advancement of authors. Members must be national organizations funded by its authors and not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, political belief or national origin. More detail can be found here.
Q. We are an organization of and for photographers. Do we have authors?
A. Yes, as do organizations of and for songwriters, playwrights, composers, lyricists, and visual and graphic artists. Author means broadly any creator whose works can be reprographically or otherwise visually reproduced. If it can be copyrighted and it can be copied on an analog device — such as a copier — or digitally copied — such as a pdf file — the person who created it is probably an Author.
Q. How many Member Organizations do you have?
A. There are 23 Member Organizations at this time. A listing can be found here.
Reprographic Rights Organizations FAQs
Q. What is an RRO?
A. A Reprographic Rights Organization (“RRO”) is a Non-Governmental Organization (“NGO”) chartered by its country’s government to collect and disburse money collected for the use of various electronic/mechanical devices to copy copyrighted works.
Q. What does that mean?
A. One example is an organization called Kopinor, a Norwegian RRO that acts as the collection agent for copier use in Norway. Copyrighted works are copied. Kopinor conducts studies of what copies are made and then charges a fee to the end user that is based on statistical surveys and remitted to Kopinor. Because these collections are not done by which specific book, manuscript, or song was copied, they are called Non-Title Specific Royalties (“NTSR”).
Q. Is there an American RRO?
A. Yes, Copyright Clearance Center (“CCC”). More information about the American RRO can be found at http://www.copyright.com
Q. What is an NTSR?
A. Non-Title Specific Royalty — an NTSR is money due to authors for copies of their works, however, we do not know which specific author’s works. In our example above, because Kopinor does not know which author’s works were copied, they have decided to collect and disburse these funds on a collective and statistical, Non-Title Specific, basis using ACA as the counter-party to fairly disburse the funds.
Q. What does Kopinor do with the money?
A. Much goes to Norwegian authors. An RRO’s primary duty is to see that its country’s authors are compensated for copies made of their works.
Q. How are funds collected from the Kopinors of the world allocated to ACA’s Member organizations?
A. It is important to first know how funds are collected. While methods vary by country, typically the RRO in a specific country has made an effort to statistically sample copied works and calculate an allocation of collections by type of work. The RRO will tell us, for example, they are remitting $300,000 to us and 10% of works copied were copyrighted sheet music.
Q. How does ACA distribute the money to Member Organizations?
A. Member Organizations receive a proportional share of each distribution based on a claim of published authors in each category for which money is received. In the example above $30,000 is allocated to Member Organizations representing sheet music authors. We have very specific rules on how a Member Organization documents or surveys their membership. Their claims are submitted by notarized affidavit and must be updated annually. Our goal is to have a transparent and fair process that recognizes on a proportional basis the value of copyrighted works of the professionals who make up our Member Organizations.
Q. Once you’ve given the money to an ACA Member Organization, what do they do with it?
A. Our agreements with the RROs require Member Organizations use the funds to benefit all authors in the categories for which they receive funds, not just to the benefit of their members in general. This is because the RROs, as NGOs, are working within the context of laws and regulations imposed by their own governments. In general, the RRO is trying to “pay” the author at least indirectly for his work that was copied. For that reason, ACA Member Organizations are required to spend the money for the benefit of all authors of works defined by the categories.
Q. How do the RROs work together?
A. Through IFRRO: The International Federation of Reprographic Rights Organization (“IFRRO”). http://www.ifrro.org