Collective Management – An Introduction

Promotion and tutoring are part of a collective management society’s role. Pictured here: Lydia Képinski, Étienne Fletcher, Catherine Dagenais and Samuele, finalists of the 2016 edition of the Festival international de la chanson de Granby, which SODRAC sponsors. (Photo: Bertrand Duhamel)


Collective management is the practise by which organisations which were founded by and represent creators look after the enforcement of the authors’ rights.


 The need for collective management

It is increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for individual authors to monitor the uses of their work. For instance, the BBC uses almost 60,000 music items every week. Besides, authors are not supposed to spend their time going after their rights. They create!

On the other hand, users of creative works would find it as impossible to address the proper right holder every time they use one, especially if this work, a film for instance, consists of the work of different authors of different creative disciplines. Like authors, broadcasters like the BBC also have better things to do.

The solution that individual creators (and there are close to 3 million who are members or affiliates of CISAC societies) have found to bridge the gap between themselves and the users of their works, has been to unite and to administer their rights collectively. They created collective management societies.


Collective management organisations

Authors benefit from the activities undertaken by a collective management organisation. These include:

– collection of royalties and distribution to the authors;
– legal support, such as drawing up of model contracts, issuing licences and authorising uses; negotiate rates and terms of use with users;
– political action in favour of the effective protection of author’s rights;
– social and cultural action, promoting author’s interests and safeguarding their well being.

By administering the rights of creators, collective management organisations make a valuable economic and cultural contribution to the world of creation. Rewarding creators for their work will allow them to develop and apply their talents, thus enhancing the intellectual and spiritual role of the arts in society. An important service to users of works by giving them convenient unified access to rights, and in the case of the so-called “blanket” agreements, a unique and permanent authorisation to use all the protected repertoire without complex formalities.


“Think globally, act locally”

Following the national treatment principle enshrined in the Berne Convention, foreign right owners are treated in the same way as nationals. Thus, within the boundaries of its country, a collective administration organisation will apply the national legislation in the field of author’s right with regards both national and foreign artists.

CISAC fosters a global network of collective management organisations, within which this principle is upheld under reciprocal representation agreements. They allow organisations to administer foreign repertoires on their national territory, exchange information and pay royalties to foreign right owners.

Read More : Les sociétés de gestion collective


This text comes from the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).
With 239 members in 121 countries, CISAC is the world’s leading network of authors’ societies, representing four million creators from all regions of the world and from all artistic fields. One of its fundamental roles is to enable collective management organizations to represent creators in all parts of the globe and to ensure that authors’ rights are respected for the use of their works throughout the world.


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