Equity statement on BECS
2 December 2016
From 2017 the distributions of Equity monies to performers will be undertaken by the union itself, not the British Equity Collecting Society (BECS).
At 1.30pm today, 2 Dec, BECS will hold its Annual General Meeting for 2016 and that will be the event where many Equity members will be informed of this news for the first time.
Equity & BECS initially began negotiations to reappoint BECS as the union’s distributor.
However, Equity received legal advice that the introduction of new legislation in the UK concerning the practices of Collective Management Organisations (CMOs, of which BECS is one) prevented BECS acting as a commercial distributor.
The new regulations require that the work of the CMO (distributing statutory payments) must be the sole or main purpose of the organisation. However by 2016 Equity’s distributions made up over 75% of BECS activity. As Equity’s officers and staff must work within the law at all times negotiations ceased.
Equity then made the decision to bring the distribution of monies for which Equity is responsible back in house. BECS will continue to make payments of statutory monies to performers.
Both Equity and BECS have agreed that performers need a strong trade union and an independent audio-visual collecting society. Both organisations will continue to work together, and Equity will continue to support the financial stability of BECS and thus ensure that performers in the UK will still receive those European statutory rights payments to which they are entitled.
A full statement from Equity concerning BECS can be downloaded here, and a copy of the BECS Transparency Report which gives their account of the discussions between Equity and BECS is available on their website by following this link.