The performers’ union Equity established BECS in 1998 in order to enforce its members’ rights in the UK and collect revenue from the compulsory collective administration of rights in other EU member states. Performers in many European countries are compensated for the use of their audiovisual work via a system of legal rights.
These rights entitle them to remuneration when their work is copied for private use, rented in video shops, retransmitted on cable channels or publicly broadcast. BECS negotiates a share of the revenue generated in this way for British made productions that are exploited in the countries with performers’ rights. BECS has agreements in place with collecting societies in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
BECS also acts as a payment agent for Equity and major broadcasting companies. This involves the administration of payments arising from licensing agreements negotiated by Equity for artists who worked on Equity contracts. Payments currently cover the following uses of performers’ work:
- programmes by cable and satellite operators in Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands;
- the broadcasting of archive radio programmes on the digital channel BBC4 Extra;
- the filtering of BBC, ITV and Channel 4 programmes via new media services, including video-on-demand.
We carry out two major distributions of revenue in July and December, as well as monthly mini-distributions for smaller payments and Equity royalty payments.