Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016 come into force.

The Collective Rights Management Directive (2014/26/EU) was implemented into UK law via the above Regulations on 10 April 2016.  The Government says that the Directive is designed to help make sure royalty payments are timely and accurate while significantly improving the transparency and governance of European Collective Management Organisations (CMOs).  The Directive also creates a level playing field for the multi-territorial licensing of online music services.

Rights holders in the UK make extensive use of CMOs to manage their copyright.  The new Regulations will improve the system in a number of ways:

  • control of rights: rights holders will have an explicit right to authorise any CMO in the EU to manage their rights, and to withdraw this authorization;
  • decision-making: CMOs will need to give their members proper representation in decision-making processes, including on how royalties are distributed;
  • payment: rights holders will be entitled to timely, accurate royalty payments for the use of their works; and
  • transparency: CMOs will need to publish more detail about their operations, letting rights holders make an informed judgement on their performance.

The Regulations will also establish a framework to make it easier for CMOs to offer single licences across the EU for online music services.  This should encourage the development of new products for consumers, and create new sources of revenue for creators.

The Intellectual Property Office has also published various guidance documents covering: (i) general guidance on licensing bodies and CMOs; (ii) guidance on how the IPO will carry out investigation and enforcement activities; (iii) guidance on how the IPO regulates licensing bodies; and (iv) guidance on CMO complaints procedures.

To access the new Regulations, click here.  To read the IPO’s press release on implementation of the Directive, click here.  To access the IPO’s guidance, click here.