CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, has expressed its deep sadness at the news that its President, British singer and songwriter Robin Gibb, has passed away.
Robin Gibb died in the night of Sunday 20 May 2012, at the age of 62, after fighting a long-term illness. Alongside his brothers Barry and Maurice, performing as The Bee Gees, he was part of one of the most successful songwriting teams in the history of pop music. As President of CISAC for the past five years, Robin Gibb was also the tireless voice of three million creators around the world as the leader of the members ofCISAC’s 232 authors’ societies in 121 countries. He enthusiastically used his position as President of the organisation and as one of the world’s most popular songwriters to persuade global policy makers to support creators and promote and uphold the value of copyright.
Following a first term as president, Gibb was unanimously re-elected for an additional three-year mandate in June 2010. At the time, Gibb said, “The presidency ofCISAC is a role that means a great deal to me because, as a songwriter, I am a passionate believer in the collective management of rights by authors’ societies. While the entire entertainment sector is at a crossroads, I want to leverage this new mandate to help develop a management rights system that is sustainable in the digital age, a system that meets public demand for easy access to all our works while preserving the rights and interests of everyone, including fair payment for creators to use their works.”
Paying tribute to Gibb, French painter and CISAC Vice-President Hervé Di Rosa said, “The spirit of Robin Gibb’s commitment and passion towards the authors’ cause will stay alive in us all. We will miss our friend, and theCISAC creative community will miss its leader.”
Kenth Muldin, Chairman of CISAC’s Board of Directors, commented, “Robin has been our President and the voice ofCISAC for the past five years and throughout this period we have been blessed by his presence and his infectious enthusiasm. He took his role very seriously – we knew we could count on him whenever the principles of authors’ rights were under attack. On behalf ofCISAC, and in the name of the whole creative community that he so brilliantly represented, I would like to offer our deepest and most sincere condolences to his wife Dwina and to his family. We will miss him immensely; we will miss his energy, his dedication to the cause of authors and, most of all, I will miss his friendship.”
Olivier Hinnewinkel, Director General of CISAC, said, “The global creative community and all of us atCISAC are deeply shocked and saddened by the passing of Robin Gibb. Robin was known all around the world as a great songwriter and artist, but he was less well known as an active defender of the rights of creators. Robin Gibb was always incredibly generous with his time as he relentlessly fought for the cause of authors and their rights.”
During his tenure asCISACPresident, Gibb strongly defended the copyright system, challenging big business and governments whenever they argued that author copyright stifled commercial development. His interventions regularly featured on the global news agenda and frequently effected policy change.
The last official engagement of Robin Gibb for CISACwas at the World Copyright Summit in Brussels in June 2011. In his closing address to delegates, Gibb said that authors – who “underpin the whole of the creative industries” – should be “cherished and nurtured as such”, adding poignantly, “I’m proud to be President ofCISAC, and I will keep on fighting for creators’ rights as long as I can draw breath.”
At the 2009 World Copyright Summit in Washington, DC, Gibb warned: “Copyright is not a barrier to progress. It is a facilitator of progress, creativity and communication. The existence of strong copyright will not stifle the development of the digital utopia which Google, Microsoft and others promise. Copyright will promote such development. Without copyright you have chaos and this is a far greater barrier to progress.”
As a direct result of Gibb’s intervention in April 2009, the Croatian government abandoned an initiative that would have dramatically reduced royalties paid by the hotel, restaurant and catering sector. A letter sent by Gibb in November 2009 helped bring about a Presidential veto of a damaging law being proposed inChile.
Gibb has also spoken out against the 2008 European Commission Decision that accused authors’ societies of restricting competition. He also criticised the delay taken byChinato adopt a broadcasting tariff and the reluctance of Serbian national broadcaster RTS to pay royalties.
In June 2010 a video message demonstrated Gibb’s solidarity with Brazilian creators and authors’ societies urging authorities to reject proposed reforms to the copyright act that would be detrimental to authors’ rights. In 2010 and 2011, Gibb strongly supported the Copyright Act reform inIndia to improve music composers and filmmakers’ rights. In his last hours, Robin Gibb has had the pleasure of knowing that the amendments to the Copyright Act were adopted by the Indian Senate, finally recognizing the rights of the creators in this country
Robin Gibb, singer-songwriter, President of CISAC, 1949-2012.