Monday, April 2, 2012

CLL writers’ awards

Copyright Licensing Limited has announced that applications are open for the CLL 2012 Writers’ Awards. Every year two writers receive $35,000 each to work on a non-fiction project. Could be history, could be science, could be biography, could be anything, really, as long as it is serious.

Recent notable publications by award-winners include Paul Millar’s No Fretful Sleeper: a life of Bill Pearson, Martin Edmond’s The Zone of the Marvellous, Hazel Riseborough’s Shear Hard Work and Peter Wells’s Colenso biography The Hungry Heart.

To apply you must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and provide a summary of the work and a sample chapter. Closing date is Tuesday 26 June. Full details are here.

CLL, a non-profit organisation owned jointly by the Publishers Association of NZ and the NZ Society of Authors, licenses educational and other organisations that copy published material and distributes the income to the works’ authors and publishers. After deduction of operating costs and a contribution to the CLL Cultural Fund, which pays for these awards, all licensing revenue is returned to rightsholders. (It’s mostly textbooks but occasionally even I get a small cheque.)

It’s a very generous award, one of biggest in New Zealand, so if you have a suitable project you’d be mad not to apply.

Keri Hulme expresses a view in the comments.


Keri Hulme said...

"After deduction of operating costs and a contribution
to the CLL Cultural Fund......all licensing revenue is returned to rightsholders."

That is TOTAL BULL SHIT as you well know.

CLL works on an extremely anti-author loaded sampling programme. They have *never* got back to me on how this works.

After 30 years of having books supposedly in this programme, I have received precisely 2 cheques: one for $2.51c (when "tbp" was at it's height here in ANZ)
-I keep the cheque-
and another a decade and a half later for $2500 (the other $2500 went to VUP which was not then, and never has been, a major publisher for me. No accounting; no listing of title/s; no figures whatsoever.
What Cll has done is build a wee empire which does NOT help the majority of copyright holders in ANZ but does make jobs for bureaucrats (and extend their premises, IT systems etc.)
They really wanted to get into the e-rights too...and, HOORAY! they failed dismally.

Stephen Stratford said...

Kia ora, Keri. Always good to hear from you, but it’s not quite right to suggest “That is TOTAL BULL SHIT as you well know” – if I knew it to be untrue I wouldn’t have written it. I get to see CLL’s accounts so I do know where the money goes.

CLL’s licensing revenue is not like the Public Lending Right. It comes from photocopying in educational institutions, which is why most of the books that come up in the sampling process are textbooks. We’re talking Lincoln and Massey and Northland Polytech as well as Auckland and Victoria universities; also secondary school maths and science textbooks. Most of the revenue goes overseas because that’s where most textbooks are from (CLL gets some revenue back from overseas copying of NZ books); what remains here is due mostly to textbook writers, not authors of fiction or general non-fiction. That’s why most of us outside the educational sector receive little or nothing from CLL. The same is true in every country.

You say “CLL works on an extremely anti-author loaded sampling programme. They have never got back to me on how this works.” I have talked to staff at CLL about this and also head librarians who manage the process and it is certainly not anti-author: it’s simply a process of sampling what works are being copied, and in what quantity, in a range of institutions. Publishers don’t do any better out of it than authors do – that’s simply not possible. As for them getting back to you about it – CLL is under new management and communications have improved a lot. Probably all information you would want is on the website now.

I’m surprised that The Bone People has not featured in the sampling – that’s something to raise with Spiral or Picador or whichever publisher has/had the rights. Understandably, CLL deals direct with publishers not with authors because there are too many of the latter to be manageable. The VUP payment must be for Lost Possessions and Te Kaihau which 25 years later are maybe not being taught. I liked getting a payment, much tinier than yours, because it meant that at least one of my books was still useful somehow - but I didn't know which. I agree that it would be better if authors were told what books are being copied and paid for, and I have said as much to CLL. I imagine the publishers are told but can’t be bothered passing the information on. This is really an issue between author and publisher.

Fergus said...

Te Kaihau felt pretty major to me at the time, says crestfallen publisher. Anyway, on CLL, the publisher is told what was copied, and I think we would normally pass that on, but not where it was copied. I don't know how the sampling is done, but it does produce wildly different results, period to period.

Stephen Stratford said...

Thanks, Fergus. I wasn't told (by Random, in my case) what was copied - didn't really mind, was just curious. Wildly different results are to be expected because different institutions are sampled each year but in theory over time it should work out to be approximately accurate, or as accurately approximate as possible. Perfect sampling would be so expensive that there would be no money left over for authors or publishers, so we must accept that "close enough is good enough". The process is done according to what is considered internationally best practice, and I don't think any of us can ask more than that.

Anonymous said...

Oh no.
More encouragement for "serious writing" is not needed. We're drowning in the bloody stuff.

What New Zealand needs is funding to produce frivolous and amusing writing.

Paul said...

My forthcoming slim volume will be titled Copy This Book

Keri Hulme said...

Thanks for feedback, Stephen, Fergus.

A couple of points: I have never received any indication from VUP of what was copied. And, educational institutions have been know to teach literature - and copy relevant sections from novels or short story collections.

Stephen, you wrote that after deductions, "all revenue is returned to the rightholders" -and *that* is what I called bullshit. I have never seen any accounts, despite asking. I do know that CLL moved into new premises & installed a new computer system - these presumably are 'operating costs'?

Just recently I was approached by AUP for permission to to publish 15 pages of 'tbp' in both paper AND e-book formats, for an historical over-view of ANZ lit. I would think this is intended to be a
text-book...they offered $50.00 for the permissions.
They have been denied.

Stephen Stratford said...

"after deductions... all revenue is returned to the rightsholders" is true, Keri. It's kind of the law - CLL is part of an international system and it's rigorous. It may not seem that way to local authors of general books, but I see the accounts every year and can vouch for the process. CLL doesn't account directly to authors - it accounts to its 50/50 shareholders PANZ and NZSA. I don't know how public these accounts are but if you're an NZSA member you could ask your nearest NZSA rep on CLL, Vanda Symon, who lives in Dunedin, for more information. Or it may be on the website - I haven't looked.

It is an expensive business - premises, computer systems, staff, and a lot of time spent educating institutions and the public about the importance of copyright. I think even every photocopy shop is approached - there is a lot of illegal copying done so the "policing" is quite labour-intensive. I can't recall the figures but know that CLL's costs deducted before paying out to rightsholders compare very well to similar organisations internationally. These things are constantly (please forgive the verb) benchmarked.

It's a separate matter but I have heard about that AUP anthology and what they offer for permissions, and think they'll be lucky to get acceptances from at least two major estates, and from quite a few authors like you.

Stephen Stratford said...

"What New Zealand needs is funding to produce frivolous and amusing writing."

Anonymous, you'll get no argument from me. Frivolous is my middle name.

Fergus said...

Kia ora Keri,

Here's a copy of a letter. We don't copy the CLL statement, which has more details, because it puts different authors books on one form.


November 27, 2007

Keri Hulme
PO Box [redacted]
South Westland

Dear Keri Hulme

Copyright Licensing Fees

Enclosed please find a cheque for copying fees from Copyright Licensing Limited, which administers the licensing of copies of authors works, usually the photocopying of pages from books and articles. These fees are paid to us for permission to make copies of The Windeater.

You receive 50% of the fees paid to us by Copyright Licensing Ltd.

Craig Gamble

Keri Hulme said...

Thanks Stephen and Fergus.

I note conspicuous lack of detail on that letter(aside from the fact it apllies to "The Windeater") Fergus.

And, Stephen- I would be very surprised if some estates, not to mention other living authors, give permission for what is a tight & parsimonious (and bordering on grabby) offer.

Bill Manhire said...

One problem with CLL and anthologies like the proposed AUP one is that payment for work copied is made, not to the particular contributor, but to the anthology editor. This is administratively convenient, but manifestly unjust - especially given the number of secondary and tertiary institutions that compile handouts and course readers from the pages of published anthologies. It's especially bad news for NZ poets.

Keri Hulme said...

Not wrong, Bill!
I have only 2 books of poems out there - and I have seen both course & examination sheets turn up with my work in them. CLL recompense? Nada, zilch.
And that thing about 'anthology editors' has bugged ever since I learned about it. "Pardon? You're merely *quoting* my work and *you* get the copyright fee?"