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DAC and ARGENTORES Trained the CEO of SRAI to Establish the Indian Collective Management Society

Among the foundational objectives of the International Confederation of Audiovisual Authors (AVACI), one of its fundamental purposes stands out: to provide support and assistance for the development and consolidation of the Confederation's member societies, not only with financial aid but also with technical training in "know-how," IT systems, and their tools.

In this framework of international cooperation, the screenwriter and CEO of the Screenwriters Rights Association of India (SRAI), Vinod Ranganath, visited Argentina in June, where he received intensive training courses at Directores Argentinos Cinematográficos (DAC) and the Sociedad General de Autores de la Argentina (ARGENTORES), which hosted him to share information and train him to efficiently run a Collective Management Society in his country.

Since everything regarding association and author's rights is new for Indian authors and due to the absence of organizations representing them, Vinod Ranganath was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for training to efficiently launch SRAI.

"Both at DAC and ARGENTORES, they showed and taught me how collective management societies work, what the different departments or sectors are, what each department does, the importance of each sector, and what work each one does. So when I return to India, I will have all that information to formalize our society," explained the CEO of SRAI in an interview with AV Creators News.

Training Instances

One of the most important training tasks for the formation of SRAI that Vinod Ranganath had during his stay in Argentina was learning how to operate AVSYS - Integrated Operating System for Audiovisual Works - at DAC's headquarters. This system was specially designed by the Federation of Latin American Audiovisual Authors Societies (FESAAL) to control and execute all operations of an audiovisual author's rights management society.

At the entity that brings together audiovisual directors in Argentina, they also advanced in designing the final website and logo for SRAI, which will identify the new Indian society.

Regarding his visit to ARGENTORES, Ranganath learned about the specific work of screenwriters at one of the most important entities in the world, founded in 1910.

"Since we are screenwriters, they helped me understand much more about how the management system works with screenwriters in Argentina. The system is very similar to DAC's, but there are specific issues that were useful to me, such as those related to agreements and the end user with the screenwriters' part," assured the Indian author.

Struggle, perseverance, and the support of AVACI

It is well known that India's audiovisual industry is one of the most prolific in the world, with an average of approximately 1,200 films per year in 17 languages. Despite this, until very recently, the creators of this industry did not have adequate protection regarding their rights.

This changed at the beginning of 2024 when the Indian government, after a wait of more than a decade - starting from the amendment of the Author's Rights Law in 2012 - decided to give the green light to the Screenwriters Rights Association of India (SRAI) so that it could begin operating as a Collective Management Society for the author's rights of screenwriters and audiovisual producers.

However, before being able to launch the association, they still need certain legal documentation to be included on SRAI's website so that payment systems - such as PayPal - will accept them as partners, covering all rules, regulations, and refund policies.

"Right now, there's a lawyer working on that. When it's ready and they click on 'I want to be a member,' the form will appear. We will charge 5000 Indian rupees for membership and need to have at least 1000 members to start operating," said Ranganath.

That is the first major goal: to achieve the necessary memberships to launch the association, obtain money to hire workers, and also have an office or space to operate.

Vinod Ranganath believes there won't be problems in reaching the necessary members to formally launch SRAI, as the writers "are happy, they are all waiting to collaborate and for the association to start. So the moment everything is ready, they know that if they become members, they start receiving royalties and everyone starts earning."

However, the members must know that the process will take at least two years "until we can negotiate with everyone, because we have 17 languages, and each language has three or four satellite channels. Each channel has eight shows with eight broadcasts each day. We just need to multiply to discover the magnitude of the work we have to put into the AVACI system. There is an immense amount of data; it will simply take me two years to enter all this data into the system. And with the different languages, harmonizing them all so that everything, for example, is translated into Hindi or English, which will be the two languages of the system."

Due to the difficulties they have had in being recognized by the government, Vinod Ranganath reflected on the future of author's rights for Indian writers with the creation of the association.

"I believe that the time has come for this to really happen in India, and I think the corporate part is also understanding it. They understand that they can't deny these rights to anyone. It will be a struggle; it's not like they will give it to us easily, but what we understood is that as long as we are reasonable in what we ask for, there won't be a problem establishing a dialogue with us. It's business. Also understanding that they are making a lot of money, so we don't have to be greedy and say give me all this, but we have to earn their trust. And make them understand that we are only asking for fair remuneration," he said.

To seduce, convince, and dialogue with corporations so they effectively understand that "we are not trying to steal their money, because if they don't make money, no one makes money. So we want them to make more money; we are trying to help everyone earn more."

It won't be easy because there are numerous corporations, "different languages, producers of different languages, dealing with each one will take a lot of time."

Throughout this long process of claims and requests, the writers of India's audiovisual industry have not been alone; they have found an indispensable support in AVACI.

Ranganath still remembers when the international confederation of audiovisual authors asked "all AVACI members to write a letter to send to the Indian government. So most affiliated societies sent letters to the government asking them to accept us as a society."

Currently, India has a rather particular law that states any royalty collected "by any screenwriter must be shared 50% with the producer. So if I receive 100 dollars, it's 100 rupees as a royalty, it means 50 will go to the producer of my show, and I keep the other 50 dollars or rupees," detailed the screenwriter.

And he concluded: "That 50-50 share will lead to our society having owners and authors as members. That's why our board will have an equal number of owners and authors as members."


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