The history of the SGAE dates all the way back to the end of the 19th century, when the musical and theatrical sector in Spain comprised three groups: the impresarios who owned the halls where works were performed, the authors of the works and the intermediaries who negotiated between them, i.e. the publishers. This last group tended to abuse somewhat their dominant position by signing halls to exclusive contracts and tied in their authors with loans or advances at high interest against their future earnings, as well as engaging them not only for the works already created but also any others they might produce in future.
In view of this situation, the playwright and journalist Sinesio Delgado and the composer Ruperto Chapí, encouraged by their renown at national level (the Spanish Intellectual Property Act is from 1879) and the international recognition of copyright (Berne 1886), began to plant the seed of independence in the minds of authors. On June 16th, 1899, they founded the Sociedad de Autores Españoles (SAE) alongside Miguel Ramos Carrión, José Francos Rodríguez, Tomás López Torregrosa, Carlos Arniches, Quinito Valverde, José López Silva, Eugenio Sellés, Eusebio Sierra and Vital Aza, who served as its first president.
Various problems led Federico Romero to propose the winding-up of the SAE and the creation of the SGAE: “Sociedad General de Autores de España”, whose first president was Eduardo Marquina.
The Intellectual Property Act dated July 24th, 1941, regulated the SGAE as a single exclusive entity for collective rights management.
A major reform of the Intellectual Property Act from 1879 was enacted. One of the important precepts contained in the new legislation was that, at last, it was no longer required for a work to be registered nor any other formality for it to be effectively protected.
Retaining the same initials, the Society’s name was changed to “Sociedad General de Autores y Editores” (General Society of Authors and Publishers).
The Intellectual Property Act was partially amended to transpose into Spanish law the European Directive on the harmonization of the term for protection of copyright and certain related rights and to adapt the Act to the digital world.
In this year, the collective of authors undertook to change the SGAE and turn it into an entity that would recover the prestige and renown of its activities in favour of creators, a task it had been devoted to since its foundation in 1899. Throughout 2011, the members fostered a process of re-founding of the Society which led to a more democratic, more transparent institution closer to its various stakeholders and the citizenry in general.
Following the renewal of the Society’s organs of governance in May, 2012, when a record number of members participated in the elections, the incorporation of new representative bodies in the form of Territorial Councils and, at the same time, the gradual renovation of the management team in the course of 2013, the SGAE is now facing a new era. Its new General Management team is implementing a Transparency and Internal Control Plan, part of the Management Board’s determination to restore the SGAE to its original founding principles: the improvement of the working conditions of creators, the defence of their legitimate right to a worthy compensation for their talent and efforts, as well as supporting those starting out, and providing financial assistance for those in need.
One of the fundamental cornerstones of this plan is the vision of a more digital SGAE, an entity that responds to a new model of effective, transparent and global management that contemplates the inclusion of new systems for transforming rights management. Some of the steps taken in this adaptation to the digital environment can be seen in the computerization of the internal processes, the boosting of on-line channels to provide more and better services for members and clients, or the strengthening of our integration with other industry players, to mention just a few.
These advances towards global rights management for its members are complemented by the SGAE’s participation in initiatives such as the ARMONIA project for on-line rights licensing in Europe, in collaboration with other management entities.
The Intellectual Property Law is modified according to the European directive in matters of Copyright.
As a result of an updated internal regulation, all members can participate in SGAE’s election.
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