Nowadays, the extent and intensity of public use of copyrighted works and performances is such that the artists have essentially no chance to check and monitor the use of their works (e.g. playing music in the radio or in restaurants, book loans in libraries, or TV broadcasts). Therefore, there are societies authorized by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, whose members include the authors and other rightholders, that are in charge of the collective management. Such societies are referred to as copyright collective societies.
Such societies often have the legal form of an association, and often enjoy statutory monopoly afforded by the government for collective management in the respective field. In fact, they are sort of trade unions of authors protecting their interest against stronger users of the works with respect to reproductions, public showings and radio broadcast of copyrighted works, artistic performances and other protected works.
Collective Management Explained
Collective management means indirect representation of a larger number of people for their collective benefit in the exercise of their economic rights to their works, performances, audio and audiovisual recordings provided that other exercise of such rights than collective management is not effective or efficient.
Collective management also includes the collection of fair compensation for book loans and copies of the protected works for individual use (photocopiers, CD writers, printers, USB, empty media such as CD/DVD/BD). The law stipulates that fair compensation may only be collected through a copyright collective society.
In other words, collective management is used in contexts where a large number of copyrighted works or other protected items are used regularly and continuously (e.g. with respect to photocopy services, hotels, restaurants, TV and radio broadcasters, manufacturers and importers of photocopiers and empty media discs, cable televisions).
Non-application of collective management
The only major exception to the use of collective management is the field of theatres where authors grant all rights directly under the license agreements entered into with the users of the works and performances (theatres and theatre producers). Therefore, the field of theatre is exempt from collective management.
Indirect Representation Explained
Indirect representation means that the copyright collective society represents the artist in its own name; in other words, the collective society, not the artists, is a party to the contracts entered into with the users of the works.
Membership and Fees
The representation as part of the collective management is always free of charge; sometimes, the payment of a one-off entry fee may be required to cover the costs related to the registration in the collective management system. The artists who are represented by the society do not contribute towards the costs of the copyright collective society in any way (except for the deductions of commissions or overhead fees of the society from the collected royalties); from this perspective, collective management is always beneficial for the rightholder.
In addition to being represented, artists may also become members of the copyright collective societies (membership is unrelated to representation). Members are approved by the competent body of the society in accordance with its rules and policies. As a rule, artists who have been active in the field and have a history of achievements for a number of years are approved as members. Members are entitled to vote at the members’ meetings, may stand in election for the bodies of the society and thus influence the activities and future direction of the society.
Characteristics and Benefits of Collective Management
Collective management is mass, collective, effective and efficient. The fact that collective management is mass and collective means that the society grants under its agreements (as an indirect representative of all artists included in the collective management) license to all users of a large number of all artists at the same time, i.e. in one contract which may be designated a mass contract and which also includes the rights of artists who are not represented provided that such an artist does not opt out from the specific agreement of the society. In addition to such agreements, the societies also enter into standard license agreements. The basic benefit of collective management lies in the fact a license to a large number of works or performances may be granted at the same time. As mentioned above, the fact that collective management is free of charge is also a benefit.
How it Works
Collective licensing agreements may include different forms of royalty collection. For example, collective licensing agreements entered into with major TV and radio broadcasters include rather sophisticated and detailed procedure for reporting the uses of the works and performances, which form a basis for the calculation and payment of the royalties at regular intervals; the royalties are determined on the basis of rates which constitute annex to such agreements. The rates define the royalties taking into consideration a number of aspects: the type of the work or performance, the footage of the work or performance or the part of the day when it is used. Other collective licensing agreements include a lump-sum collection, which is an easier procedure as the user only pays a lump sum for a specific period of time (e.g. one calendar year) and thereby acquires the right to use all works for which the respective society exercises the rights without the need to report the specific uses. This system is used for restaurants and the radios/CD or DVD players used there.
For music composers, including, without limitation, film and TV music, the usual case is that the producers are only granted a “synchronization license” under which they acquire a right to process/modify the music and incorporate it into the final audiovisual work or TV programme. The license fee for the synchronization license is usually paid directly by the producer or broadcaster (i.e. not through the collective society).
Composers further receive royalties for the repeated use of their work (cinema screening, TV broadcast) through the OSA copyright collective society (The Copyright Protection Association for Music Rights), which collects the royalties for the composers from a variety of users (cinemas, distributors etc..); any such use is reported to the OSA collective society. Sometimes the uses are reported by the composers, sometimes by the users.