APRA and the money.

APRA (Australian music rights association) contacted me yesterday. They have money for me because a TV station aired a program that had my music in it. $460AUD.

The producers of the show correctly licensed the music from me, and no one had to pay for the use… but the TV stations have an agreement – they pay a yearly fee, and that gets divided up among the music rights holders and disbursed through APRA.

I asked if they could give the money back to the station. They said ‘no’. So, now I’m trying to get the money to give back to the station that didn’t need to pay it in the first place.

Here is exactly how simple that is:
1) Sign up for APRA*
2) Collect money
3) Send money to TV station

*Signing up for APRA is a problem. It isn’t difficult, but it is a problem. When you sign with a rights collecting agency like this, they get to do things for you. Things that I don’t want done. For example, as a “benefit” they get to demand money for the use of my music. Wherever they think they can legally get the money, I’m sure they try. That is their job.

Lucky for me, I can “opt out” of a variety (possibly all) of their collection efforts.
– public performance
– broadcasting
– streaming
– live performance
– film
– background music
– radio
– tv

In order to keep the CC license, I would need to opt-out of everything… including the things where they are already collecting money!

Now it looks like this:
1) Sign up for APRA
2) Opt out of everything**
3) Collect money
4) Send money to TV station

**Opting out requires 3 months’ prior written notice – to be effected on July 1 or January 1. The July deadline is gone. So I could sign up in September, immediately give the 3 months’ notice, and be all good by January!
From what I can tell, this would give APRA three months’ worth of free reign to go after people for money – which is exactly what I do not want. Also, this process can cost about $200AUD.

So now…
1) Sign up for APRA
2) Pay APRA $200 to…
3) Opt out of everything
4) Hope that APRA doesn’t screw with people in the meanwhile***
5) Collect remaining money
6) Send remaining money to TV station

***We have now run into the territory of “really unacceptable” and “potentially asinine”.

Option, The First
Do nothing. Leave the money with people who collected it on my behalf without my permission. This money will go back into the pool of random money and be given to other composers for no apparent reason.

Option, The Second
Try to actually get the money and give it back to the people who didn’t need to pay it in the first place, while possibly screwing up licensing for everyone else.

I seriously dislike this portion of my world.