Copyright Collective Societes

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.


A writer writes children’s books and has them published by various publishing houses. He enters into a standard license agreement with the publishing house; under the agreement the writer receives a lump-sum payment for writing the book and subsequently running royalties for the sales of the books. The writer wonders, however, whether he could also receive compensation for the book loans in libraries etc. and how to monitor such uses. What options are available to him?

The writer may enter into collective representation agreement with the DILIA copyright collective society. By the end of the calendar year when the book is published, the writer must notify DILIA thereof on a prescribed form (this is essentially the only obligation of the writer under the collective representation agreement). Thereby DILIA learns that the book has been published and can be included in the register of books under collective management. This procedure is used by writers to report not only their books, but also other published works such as newspaper or magazine articles, plays, TV programmes, published brochures, books etc. In the following year (usually by 30 June) DILIA transfers to all writers who have entered into collective representation agreement with DILIA their share of the “collective royalties”. Thus the writer receives some money by means of compensation e.g. for the book loans or TV showings (unless the writer has granted the license to such uses to the publisher.) This constitutes additional source of income for the writer in addition to the fees under the license agreement entered into with the publisher. Therefore, it is profitable for each author to enter into a collective representation agreement or to register in the system of the mandatory collective management, and thus receive a share of the fair compensation collected. Otherwise, the writer loses on the income from collective management.

Copyright Collective Societies in the Czech Republic

The following copyright collective societies are active in the Czech Republic in the field of the collective management of works or other items protected by the Copyright Act:

  • Music works either with or without lyrics: OSA – The Copyright Protection Association for Music Rights (
  • Literature, theatre, film, TV and other audiovisual arts, rental of sheet music: DILIA, theatre, literary and audiovisual association (
  • Actors, dancers, musicians, singers, music and film producers: INTERGRAM, an independent society of performers and producers of phonograms and audiovisual fixation (
  • Visual artists: GESTOR – The Union for the Protection of Authorship (
  • Cameramen, architects, visual artists: OOA-S-Authors Copyright Protection Association - Association of authors works of art, architecture and visual components of audiovisual works(
  • Sound engineers: OAZA – Music and Author Protection Agency (

Cross-border Issues in Collective Management

The artists who are represented by the copyright collective societies authorize the societies to enforce their economic rights described in the collective representation agreements. The copyright collective societies in the Czech Republic enjoy a monopoly, i.e. only one society may be responsible for the collective management of a certain type of works or performances (i.e. the artists cannot choose the copyright collective society).

This applies both on the national and international level as the copyright collective societies ensure “international protection” of the works under their management on the basis of agreements entered into with foreign copyright collective societies.

In other words, it is sufficient for the artists to be represented by the national copyright collective society. If the artist lives abroad for a substantial amount of time or if his or her works or performances are used abroad, the respective foreign copyright collective society will be responsible for collective management with respect to the works or performances of such an artist (provided that there is an agreement in place between the national and the foreign copyright collective society).