Handbook on the Economics of Copyright

Handbook on the Economics of Copyright

A Guide for Students and Teachers

Elgar original reference

Edited by Richard Watt

Featuring expert contributors from around the world, this book offers insight into the vital theoretical and practical aspects of the economics of copyright. Topics discussed include fair use, performers’ rights, copyright and trade, online music streaming, internet piracy, copyright and visual art markets, and open source publishing. In addition to in-depth coverage of these timely topics, the authors also offer insightful predictions and policy recommendations for the future.

Chapter 11: Collective administration

Christian Handke

Subjects: economics and finance, intellectual property, law - academic, intellectual property law


It is a longstanding and common practice that copyright holders commission other organizations to jointly administer some of their copyrights. This is referred to as ‘collective administration’ of copyrights, or ‘collective rights management’. The organizations that conduct collective administration are known as ‘collecting societies’, ‘copyright collectives’, or ‘copyright management organizations’ (CMO). The first proper copyright collecting society was set up in France in the middle of the nineteenth century. Today collecting societies operate in more than one hundred countries, and there are dozens of these organizations in some highly developed economies (Gervais 2001; Caslon Analytics 2002; Ficsor 2003; Gervais 2010). The scope of collective administration varies substantially between countries. It is most widely applied for composers’ (and lyricists’) rights to perform musical works in public as well as for mechanical reproduction rights of musical compositions. It is also very common for the right to reproduce copyrighted material in printed form (reprography), for instance when students make photocopies of academic texts in university libraries. In some countries, statutory regulation even enforces compulsory licensing of certain copyrights, which means in practice that rights holders have to participate in the collective administration of rights. Collecting societies continue to play a central role in many markets for copyright works.

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