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CISAC Declines to Unilaterally Stop Business With Russia

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As Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine continues and more music companies have ceased doing business with the country, many in the songwriting, music-publishing and especially the performing-rights communities have looked to CISAC, the global confederation of authors societies such as ASCAP and PRS, to make a unilateral decision.

However, on Monday, the organization announced that although it “deplores and condemns the war waged by the Russian government against the Ukrainian population,” it will leave such decisions to individual societies, although it continues to develop a relief fund for Ukraine, first announced on Wednesday.

“While abhorring the actions of the Russian armed forces, CISAC is not empowered to impose sanctions on member societies based only on the actions of their government,” the statement says in part. “Russian authors, just as their counterparts elsewhere, cannot be blamed for the grotesque actions of their government.”

“CISAC’s global network of authors societies deplores and condemns the war waged by the Russian government against the Ukrainian population,” the statement reads. “Our entire community is working to help our fellow Ukrainian creators and colleagues and provide aid to the victims of the war. On March 9th CISAC launched a global aid campaign Creators for Ukraine. This is led by a fund to help creators and refugees and to support the continued operation of Ukraine’s authors societies. Another project, Songs for Ukraine, aims to promote Ukrainian repertoire on broadcasting and digital platforms, to increase royalties to Ukraine’s creative community that is being ravaged by the war.”

The statement then moves onto the decision not to penalize Russia unilaterally. “When it comes to CISAC members’ business relationships with Russia, royalty flows between societies and Russian CMOs have already ceased due to financial and banking sanctions. After careful consideration, the CISAC Board has decided that each individual society should decide on whether to maintain their business relationships with Russian societies, and what the terms of any relationship should be. As a global confederation representing 228 members in over 120 countries, CISAC’s actions have to balance and reflect many diverse viewpoints. While abhorring the actions of the Russian armed forces, CISAC is not empowered to impose sanctions on member societies based only on the actions of their government.”

The statement concludes: “CISAC is passionately dedicated to supporting creators in Ukraine and to bringing whatever pressure it can to stop the brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia. This action is an indefensible attack on the innocent, and is an assault on culture and creators everywhere, including those in Russia. Russian authors, just as their counterparts elsewhere, cannot be blamed for the grotesque actions of their government.”