Board Chair Marcelo Castello Branco welcoming speech at 2023 CISAC General Assembly

2023 CISAC General Assembly Marcelo

CISAC Board Chair Marcelo Castello Branco delivered a speech addressed to member societies and creators at the 2023 CISAC General Assembly in Mexico City, hosted by SACM.

Hello, everyone. How nice it is to finally be here in Mexico. I would like to thank, especially, the Sociedad de Autores y Compositores de México (SACM), Roberto Cantoral, and his entire team for the warm welcome, patience, and determination to make this possible after so many obstacles that often prevented us from being here as we are today.

I am delighted to be with all of you in the magical city of Mexico, at the first in-person General Assembly of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), organised since 2019. It seems incredible to me to believe that I was elected to this position in the Assembly General held in Tokyo in 2019. Ever since then, and unfortunately, CISAC has not been able to meet, and I think it is safe to tell that in some way, we are all different today.

The pandemic has changed the way our societies work. All of us, without distinction, have suffered the impact it has had on our communities of authors from all the repertoires present here. As Chairman of the Board, I have had a unique perspective during this term, and I can say that it has forced us to adjust and rethink the way we approach things drastically. The Secretariat has undergone significant and fundamental changes, including reductions in staff and review of activities, but they continue to deliver services to the best of their ability. The challenges do not stop. They never do. In reality, they get renewed in a vertiginous and super fast way, which forces us to adapt without precedent and with great courage in the decision-making and the impacts generated.

I am encouraged to say that today we are better off since we have overcome an unprecedented crisis and continue to adapt to changing times.

There is no doubt that the pressures on the CMOs of CISAC today are greater than ever. The Digital Environment has required large-scale investment in new technology; competition is much more intense throughout the sector; the traditional principles of the collective management system are being challenged by new commercial entities. These are just some of the new challenges we face.

Today we will be discussing some fundamental issues for the future of our rights holders; from tools, and policies to how to face -without panic or denialism- what is inevitable: the adoption of Artificial Intelligence in our environment and creative activity in a world in which there are almost more curators than consumers, much more supply than demand capacity, and democratisation of distribution channels that are constantly multiplying. A challenge that encourages us and justifies our attention and existence. It is clear that the future will see the coexistence of many different technological tools and possibilities and, at the same time, complex legal challenges.

We are now rebuilding and returning to our reorganised activities and in-person meetings and gatherings. Last month I participated in a regional meeting in Rio de Janeiro, and that reminded me of the importance of societies meeting and facilitating discussions. This is the power of CISAC: a global community sharing its challenges and opportunities for the benefit of our creators within a changing reality that is not always fair nor logical; with a single priority: that they get more fairly remunerated, and their rights recognised; be it in the digital environment or other explorations and limits of their works.

Over the last four years, I have worked very closely with the Secretariat, which has exposed me head-on to new aspects of CISAC that I had not seen before as an ordinary member or as a board member. I have witnessed the wide range of services offered and areas covered, from technology to politics, their work with creators, governance, business, media relations, and much more. I was also able to see the architecture, diplomacy, and complexity of moving international projects forward and the need to reconcile different opinions, interests, and expectations.

It is important to note that, in the last four years, we concluded a major strategy process, and what came out very strongly from every corner is the importance of maintaining and supporting our global network. While we have some very strong partnerships, we also have many small and weak ones that need our support, guidance, and constant monitoring. But collectively our strength as a community is unmatched in the creative industries. Big societies need small ones, and small societies need big ones. It is a relationship of interdependence that deserves all our attention and care.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Björn and the Vice-Presidents for honouring us with their presence, as well as all the creators who came to Mexico to join their CEOs and participate in our discussion forum. I also extend my gratitude to those who are watching the live stream but could not join us in person.

In conclusion, let us continue to work together and support each other to further strengthen our network of societies and global representation of all creative repertoires.

The power of CISAC is in its presence in every corner of the world. When we speak to governments, the UN, WIPO, and other agencies, we speak for the entire creative repertoire out there. It is our duty to support and maintain this network, as our unity gives us strength and legitimacy. It is our strongest asset.

That is the reason why we are here, defying even volcanoes and other natural disasters, to privilege those who live from their art and creative work.

Thank you all very much and… ¡QUÉ VIVA MÉXICO!