Digitisation, Multi-territorial Licensing and Copyright Management Organisations

Ruth Towse (University of Glasgow, CREATe), “Digitisation, Multi-territorial Licensing and Copyright Management Organisations”

This paper extends the author’s earlier work (Towse, 2016, presented at EPIP2015) on the effect of digitization on the economics of collective rights management and now considers the impact of new arrangements for multi-territorial licensing on the institutional organization of Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) due to the EU Directive on Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights 2014/26 EU. CMOs manage the various rights granted in copyright law to creators and performers, offering pooled services of rights administration to rights holders and users. CMOs are typically non-profit collectives, governed by members. They operate through blanket licensing of a specific right or bundle of closely related rights in their own territory with international agreements that mutually offer rights management services between them, enabling users to obtain a licence to effectively a world repertoire. This scenario is being challenged by the demands of users of digital works (initially of music) who wish to obtain one licence for all territories in the EU as part of the common market. The supply and demand for creative goods, however, vary radically between states in the EU and all CMOs are not able to offer equivalent digital licensing and digitised services to their members as required by the EU Directive. The larger CMOs are in a position to corner the market in copyright management, however and that may be detrimental to national cultures. This paper discusses these issues from an economic and cultural point of view.