WIPO Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for Collecting Societies

As part of the WIPO ADR Services for Specific Sectors, the WIPO Center provides dispute resolution advice and case administration services to help parties resolve disputes arising in the area of collecting societies, without the need for court litigation.

Collecting Societies Disputes

Disputes in the area of collecting societies may involve a wide range of highly specific subject matter involving copyright or related rights. Collecting societies may themselves get involved as parties in such disputes together with other stakeholders, such as cable operators or broadcasters. Members of collecting societies may also get involved in disputes with each other, particularly when there are overlapping claims to the amounts collected.

As a flexible and confidential mechanism, ADR helps parties in such disputes to adopt practical and satisfactory solutions. ADR allows parties to choose a mediator, arbitrator or expert with specific expertise in the area of copyright and collecting societies. It provides a neutral forum in which an international dispute can be resolved through a single procedure. Moreover, ADR may be designed in a way so as to allow for efficient enforcement of the outcome.

Selected Areas of Dispute

  • broadcasting
  • copyright
  • distribution
  • exclusivity
  • levies
  • license agreements
  • membership
  • P2P downloading
  • public performance
  • publication
  • reciprocity agreements
  • registration
  • related rights
  • reproduction
  • royalties

Potential Stakeholders to Dispute

  • authors of literary or artistic works
  • broadcasters
  • cable operators
  • collecting societies
  • composers
  • content users
  • directors

WIPO ADR Services for Collecting Societies

  • Administration of Collecting Societies Disputes

The WIPO Mediation, (Expedited) Arbitration and Expert Determination Rules are well suited for collecting societies disputes.

The WIPO Rules are flexible and can also be applied in disputes that are not limited to intellectual property. In its role as administering institution, the WIPO Center maintains strict neutrality and independence.

Examples of WIPO cases in this area include a WIPO mediation related to a dispute between a US collecting society and a European entity which acted as the US society’s exclusive agent to obtain levies in the European country. Three years after the conclusion of the contract, which provided in case of dispute for WIPO mediation followed, if unsuccessful, by WIPO arbitration, the US society notified the termination of the contract, alleging that the European entity lacked official accreditation. The European entity initiated WIPO mediation proceedings claiming damages and lost profits for wrongful termination of the contract.

Other examples involving collecting societies include a dispute between a European right holders association and a European cable operator over royalty claims, and a dispute that arose between two European collecting societies out of a reciprocity agreement.

Collecting Societies

  • WIPO Collecting Societies Panel of Neutrals

Effective proceedings to a large extent depend on the quality of the mediator, arbitrator or expert. The WIPO Center maintains an open-ended Panel, including mediators, arbitrators and experts from around the world with expertise in collecting societies. They can be appointed by parties in cases under WIPO Rules but parties are also free to select mediators, arbitrators or experts from outside the WIPO Panel.

  • Procedural Guidance and Training

The WIPO Center makes available recommended contract clauses and submission agreements that parties can use to submit their disputes to ADR.

Upon request, the WIPO Center provides procedural guidance to interested parties and organizations in the area of collecting societies. This includes advice on the drafting and adaptation of ADR clauses in contracts related to collecting societies and submission agreements, as well as helping to bring disputing parties to ADR.

The WIPO Center also organizes training and workshops on mediation, arbitration and related topics.

  • Establishment of Adapted ADR Frameworks

Where appropriate in light of the needs of the relevant stakeholders, the WIPO Center provides guidance in the establishment of adapted ADR frameworks, including Rules, fees and clauses, and provides administrative services thereunder.

Collaboration with Concerned Stakeholders and Entities

To optimize dispute resolution in the area of collecting societies, the WIPO Center collaborates with relevant stakeholders and organizations. This may include organization of joint events and training, and establishment of adapted ADR frameworks, and involves for example the following:

The WIPO Center is available to collaborate with other interested stakeholders.


Arbitration and Mediation Center
Arbitration and Mediation Center
34, chemin des Colombettes
P.O. Box 18
1211 Geneva 20
T +4122 338 8247 or 0800 888 549
F +4122 740 3700 or 0800 888 550
Maxwell Chambers
32 Maxwell Road #02-02
Singapore 069115

T +65 6225 2129
F +65 6225 3568

General queries: arbiter.mail@wipo.int