SIAE and its history

SIAE is a society established for the collective management of authors’ rights. It is made up with members (authors and publishers are its “membership basis”), whose business is the intermediation in the field of authors’ rights. The authors and publishers holding economic rights on their works can entrust SIAE with their protection, SIAE collects the rights due to them and then distributes them to each relevant rightholder.

Every year, SIAE issues over 1.2 million licences for the use of protected works, thus making the recognition of the right easy for all those wanting to use those works and guaranteeing authors and publishers with the payment of a just remuneration for their work.

The Italian Society of Authors and Publishers is, from a technical point of view, a Public Body with economic interests based on membership. What does it mean?

The word “public” means that the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers guarantees its members a remuneration for their work, while making the users aware that a remuneration is due to the right holders.

At the same time, it ensures some of the general interests protected by our Constitution: for example, the promotion of culture, the freedom of art, the protection of intellectual work. For this reason, SIAE is under the control of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, as a guarantee of transparency and good management towards members and users alike.  SIAE does not benefit from Public Finance and does not receive any direct or indirect funding from the State. This explains the sense of the word “economic”.  The Italian Society of Authors and Publishers is a real presidium of freedom, it is non-profit and completely independent in its own business activity. The only purpose of the Society is the protection of the rights of its members. 

The Author’s right is not a tax, but a right on one’s own work.

The "Italian Society of Authors" was born in Milan on April 23, 1882. To form the association was an assembly made of writers, musicians, playwrights and publishers of the time.

 

It all began in a building in the centre of old Milan, the Ponti building (called Pullè at the time), at via Brera n. 19.The first Board of Directors of the Italian Society of Authors included historical names of Italian art and culture, as Giuseppe Verdi,Giosuè Carducci, from Francesco De Sanctis to Edmondo De Amicis. The historian Cesare Cantu was appointed Honorary President while the intellectual Tullo Massarani was the first actual president. Among the promoters of the Company were also RobertoArdigòArrigo BoitoUlrico HoepliEdoardo SonzognoGiovanni VergaPasquale VillariGiuseppe Zanardelli.

The first objective of the newly formed "Society for the protection of literary and artistic property" was to educate the public about legal and moral standards of the protection of creative inventions. Thanks to this initiative it will be included among the founders of the Berne Union in 1886 and will subsequently sign the Berne Convention, the foundation of the authir’s right protection in the world.

In the period 1896-1926 SIAE  developed into a proper organization with a mandate to mediate the author’s right

The Section of the Book was added  to some sections dedicated to Theatre and Musical Rights, and commissioned by the Association of authors and publishers to control the stamping service of the cover pages of published works in volume. In 1921 the first agreement was concluded with the Italian State for the collection of the levy on shows.

Thus began the collaboration that actually makes SIAE a privileged partner of the State and other boards and public and private institutions.

1926 was an equally important year: a new law was implemented on the author’s right, which for the first time recognized not only the economic but also the moral law.

 A major breakthrough, which was later transposed even at international level in the Berne Convention. Finally, in 1927, the company became officially  the"Italian Society of Authors and Publishers ".

On April 22nd  1941,  Law no. 633 - still in force today - was issued to give the discipline of authir’s right a wide and organic arrangement.

Modified over time by 19 European Directives and other national laws, it also defines the public entity nature of SIAE and it recognizes exclusively the activity of brokerage for the exercise of economic rights on works.  (art. 180).

This rule has been implemented and specified by law 9 January 2008 n. 2 "Provisions concerning the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers "which, in art. 1, defines SIAE a " membership-based public economic organization " and lays down rules of its governance and of its business.