I’m not generally very keen on AGMs which can have boring financial reports and lengthy digressions and interruptions from the floor, but I was pleasantly surprised by the recent AGM of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society. I might have guessed it was worth attending from the number of authors there.
So what did ALCS do differently to attract so many people? Well there was the interesting venue: the art deco Radio Lecture Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House, with its Eric Gill friezes, plus a welcome from creative director, Alan Yentob and the opportunity, at the end, to go on a tour.
There was the concise and comprehensible meeting, chaired by Adam Singer, with no off –the– point interruptions. If a question did threaten to hold up proceedings, there was the promise to talk further with Adam Singer at the reception afterwards.
There was entertainment: a special guest speaker, radio and television writer, Stephen Wyatt who gave a great talk about radio drama.
And finally, there was a generous spread of food and drink.
So what did I learn? That ALCS, together with the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS), is a joint owner of the Copyright Licensing Association (CLA) and they are now all under the same roof, in premises in Holborn. That for 12 years the ALCS fund has been increasing and now stands at 33 .8 million; that authors have a powerful organisation lobbying for them to find new ways of remuneration in the digital age when the old way - photocopying – is declining. And finally, that illustrators needn’t worry either, as their collecting society, DACs, also uses the CLA and works closely with ALCS in keeping an eye on new European directives.
So it was all very reassuring and up- beat. I shall certainly be attending the next one!