Member spotlight: American Society for Collective Rights Licensing

Athanasios VenitsanopoulosIFRRO, News, USA

The American Society for Collective Rights Licensing (ASCRL) is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation founded in the US in 2015. ASCRL’s purpose is to manage and administer collective rights revenue from reprography, public lending and other sources – including for photography and illustration – and to distribute funds to US authors and rightsholders, as well as to foreign national authors and rightsholders whose works are being published in the US.

ASCRL is an Associate Reprographic Rights Organisation (RRO) member of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO). Since its founding, ASCRL has grown to represent over 16,000 illustrators and photographers and is the leading collective rights organisation in the US for this constituency of rights owners. It is managed by an elected two-tiered Board of Directors and Board of Advisors, made up of leaders in the collective rights field, and in the illustration and photography professions. ASCRL utilises a computer-based platform for illustrator and photographer registration and for the calculation of distributions based on algorithms established by its Advisory Board, aiming to provide a fair and equitable distribution of revenues to the qualified participants. Participation in ASCRL distributions is open to all qualified photographers and illustrators.

ASCRL is a zealous defender of the primary rights of illustrators and photographers and actively engages in policy and legislative initiatives that advance their interests. This includes involvement in US Copyright Office policy on mass digitisation and its active involvement with the US Congress on copyright small claims legislation. ASCRL also participates in litigation and legal policy pertaining to the liability of state governments for copyright infringement; in litigation to narrow the Fair Use doctrine; and in policy work on revisions to Sections 512 and 1202 of the US copyright laws pertaining to liability for online infringement and for removal or alteration of copyright management information.

In 2021, ASCRL will be leading initiatives to advance the cause of collective rights management in the US in government, library, educational, internal corporate and private social media spaces. ASCRL also hopes to expand its relationships with other RROs around the world and to continue to build its relationships with the illustration and photography industries.