Collective Management Organisations: a brief overview
Collective Management Organisations (“CMO’s”) are licensing bodies which grant rights on behalf of multiple holders, such as multiple musical artists and record producers, in a single licence for a single payment. Rights holders will generally join a CMO as members and instruct it to issue licences on their behalf. CMO’s are generally not-for-profit and are run by their members, taking a deduction from the income to cover administration and distributing the surplus as royalties.
CMO’s are governed and regulated by the Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016 (“the Directive”). The Directive aims to modernise CMO governance and ensure that individual rights holders have a voice in the decision-making process.
They also have an anti-piracy goal: to streamline the licensing structure for the purpose of being more accessible to legitimate music streaming services. Continuing with music as an example, the main UK CMO’s in the music industry are the Performing Rights Society (“PRS”) who manage the rights of songwriters, composers and publishers and Phonographic Performance Limited (“PPL”) who manage the rights of record producers and performers.
Both PRS and PPL frequently litigate to defend their members’ rights, and have a good track record when pursuing those who have played music in a public place without a licence.
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