Collective rights management in the EU


Last updated 30 January 2021

UK collective management organisations (CMOs) are usually not for profit organisations that are owned or controlled by their holder members, whose rights they license.

CMOs in the European Economic Area (EEA) are governed by the Collective Rights Management (CRM) Directive. This includes obligations to represent on request right holders from any EEA member state unless there are objectively justified reasons not to do so.

The Directive also requires EEA CMOs that offer multi-territorial licensing of musical works for online services to represent, on the catalogues of other EEA CMOs that do not offer those licences.

The UK implemented the CRM Directive via the Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016. The government published guidance on those regulations.

Collective rights management from 1 January 2021

The UK EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) calls on both the EU and UK to promote cooperation and non-discriminatory treatment between their respective CMOs.

However, EEA CMOs are no longer required by the CRM Directive or the UK EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) to represent UK right holders or to represent the catalogues of UK CMOs for online licensing of musical rights.

While UK right holders and CMOs are still able to request representation, EEA CMOs may refuse those requests depending on the law in individual member states.

In the UK, existing obligations on UK CMOs have been maintained and include those specific to multi-territorial licensing of musical works for online services.

UK CMOs that offer multi-territorial licensing of online rights in musical works will continue to be required to represent, on request, the catalogue of other CMOs (UK or EEA) for multi-territorial licensing purposes.

First published 26 November 2020