Special report – AFM & SAG AFTRA Fund
Over the past few months, errors or missing items in the database of the American collecting society for accompanying artists AFM & SAG-ACTRA (“The Fund”) have been reported to us:
– certain Artisti members appeared on the “unclaimed royalties” databases;
– the participation of our members did not appear documented in the “Master Covered Sound Recordings List” database.
Artisti transmitted correctly documented claims to The Fund that did not contain these errors or missing items. Thus, discussions have taken place with The Fund in order to correct the situation and ensure that this is an isolated incident.
Knowing that the information in the database does not reflect the information transmitted by Artisti and following an update of the data on its website, The Fund has agreed to collaborate with Artisti in order to remedy the situation. Thus, it was notably agreed that The Fund would send its most recent file so Artisti can update the information on all tracks that were not part of the previous claim. In addition, The Fund will ensure that Artisti updates all data personally.
To address an additional concern from our members, The Fund’s website now indicates that fees are due within three years. However, the agreement concluded in 2012 between The Fund and Artisti provides for the payment of royalties collected by The Fund up until 1996, a period which greatly exceeds the three-year period mentioned on The Fund’s website.
According to The Fund, this update follows recent changes to its distribution rules, but The Fund assures us that it will continue to respect its contractual obligations, such as those incorporated into reciprocity agreements concluded previously with companies such as Artisti.
Artisti has obtained confirmation that any claims forwarded by Artisti for artists who are not already remunerated directly by The Fund are taken into account even if there may be a delay before the database on The Fund’s website is adjusted to take these claims into account.
Artisti has addressed the concerns of many members who have received payments directly from The Fund without being registered and despite having entrusted Artisti with the management of their royalties within the United States.
According to the Fund, when an artist is a member of one of the unions (AFM or SAG AFTRA), this mandate takes precedence over the cession granted to Artisti. Artisti obviously does not agree with this interpretation, The Fund therefore referred Artisti to the American unions mentioned above, specifying that the artists concerned would need to make a formal request with them, but that the unions would not be required to accord to any requests. In light of this, Artisti has contacted the unions on our member’s behalf in order to move forward.