Copyright collective

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Societies' tasks[edit]

Collecting societies are effectively an organization handling the outsourced function of right management. Right owners transfer to collecting society rights to: 1) sell non-exclusive licenses; 2) collect royalties 3) distribute collected royalties 4) enter into reciprocal arrangements with other collecting societies 5) enforce their rights. Collecting societies also negotiate license fees for public performance and reproduction and act as lobbying interests groups.

Collecting societies sell blanket licences, which grant the right to perform their catalogue for a period of time. Such a licence might for example provide a broadcaster with a single annual authorisation encompassing thousands of songs owned by thousands of composers, lyricists and publishers. The societies also sell individual licenses for users who reproduce and distribute music. For example, Apple must submit the download reports for the iTunes Store, which are used to determine their royalty payments.

In the U.S. and Canada, when dealing with works that are performed (such as music) these groups are called performance rights organisations or PROs. Other organizations such as artist rights groups license and collect royalties for the reproduction of paintings of living or recently deceased artists whose work has not yet entered the public domain. There are also collectives that collect royalties for copies from magazines and scholarly journals such as Access Copyright in Canada.

See also[edit]


  • Thomas Gergen: Die Verwertungsgesellschaft VG WORT: Genese und neue Herausforderungen In: Journal on European History of Law, London: STS Science Centre, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 14 – 19, (ISSN 2042-6402).