Acum, the Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers of Music in Israel, sent a letter on Wednesday to representatives of artists who are members of the organization, saying they will have to pay it 10 percent of their earnings starting January 1.

"The updated rate will be 10 percent of all direct income of every sort and kind deriving from a musical performance consisting entirely of works played from the ACUM repertoire (out of the total contents of the performance )," stated the letter.

With regard to performances for which no pay is charged, the letter said: "The rate will change in accordance with the percentage of use of the played works within the total contents of the performance." The ACUM people wrote that they had carried out a comprehensive study in "similar countries" and found that the rates the organization charges are "significantly, inappropriately and unreasonably lower than the rates in those countries." The letter went on to say that no changes had been made in the organization's rates since 1999.

Artists' representative Sharon Malul fired back on the Facebook page of the We Want a Music Law group, which has nearly 3,500 members.

Artists united

"Artists are supposed to receive money from ACUM for performances, but ACUM (the only organization in the country that holds our rights by the balls ), looks away and charges money from the artist himself, takes its commission and returns the money to the artist minus its commission (in the best case ). The club takes a percentage from you, ACUM takes the royalties from you and the publicity is on you," he wrote

Malul is calling on artists to demonstrate outside the ACUM offices.

Yonatan Dagan, leader of the musical project J. Viewz, also participated in the discussion but chose to hedge Malul's remarks.

"I have no interest in defending ACUM," wrote Dagan, "but artists need to know there are a lot of elements that have an interest in artists coming out against ACUM. In this case the artist's manager would prefer that royalties not be paid to the artist for renditions in performances. Then he depicts it as ACUM taking money from you."