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From Artist to Audience - Collective Management of Copyright

January 2007

How is it possible to ensure that an individual musician is remunerated each time his song is played on the radio? Or a writer whenever his play is performed? How can the copyright and related rights of such creators be managed efficiently so as to enable them to concentrate on their creative activity, while receiving the economic reward due to them?

From Artist to Audience, a WIPO booklet produced in cooperation with the International Confederation of Societies of Authors (CISAC) and the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), aims to answer some of these questions by exploring one way in which the copyright and related rights system works, namely through the collective management of rights.

Collective management organizations are professional organizations established by authors and artists in various fields to manage their copyrights, to facilitate clearance of those rights, and to ensure that they obtain the payments to which they are entitled. From Artist to Audience provides a simple introduction to how collective management organizations work in regard to key cultural industries, including music and sound recordings; print and publishing; film and television; visual arts; and theatre.

Music, for instance, is perhaps the most universal of all copyright-based creative expressions. With music on radio alone accounting for over 70 percent of airtime, it would be close to impossible for individual broadcasters to clear the rights with each and every copyright owner. So collective management organizations, or performing rights societies, act as intermediaries between the rights holders and the users, managing the licensing of musical works, collecting the payments and passing them back to the musicians or copyright holders. This makes it easy for users to get permission to play music in many different places. By establishing a network of representation agreements with similar organizations in other countries, such organizations can offer an international music repertory for licensing in their country, representing more than 1.4 million composers, songwriters, music arrangers and publishers worldwide.

The production of sound recordings requires many copyright clearances. In general, composers and other copyright owners – such as music publishers – receive royalty payments from the sale of copies of sound recordings such as CDs. Their rights in many countries are managed by mechanical rights societies. In some countries, the same societies manage both performing and mechanical rights.

Other WIPO publications on collective management include:

  • Collective Management in Reprography (Pub. No. 924, free of charge)
  • The Setting-up of New Copyright Societies (Pub. No. 926, free of charge)
  • Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights (Pub. No. L450CM, free of charge)
  • Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights (Pub. No. 855, 40 Swiss Francs)
  • La gestion collective du droit d’auteur dans la vie musicale (French only, Pub. No. 789, 28 Swiss Francs)

These are available from the WIPO e-bookshop.


The WIPO Magazine is intended to help broaden public understanding of intellectual property and of WIPO’s work, and is not an official document of WIPO. The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of WIPO concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. This publication is not intended to reflect the views of the Member States or the WIPO Secretariat. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by WIPO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.