Dr Simone Schroff, CREATe/University of East Anglia explores how Collective Management Organisations are responding to pressures to offer more clarity about how they operate.
Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) perform a key role in the commercial exploitation of music. They license its use, collect the revenues and then distribute these to the copyright owners. As a result, the CMOs link both the copyright owners and users at one of the key stages that copyright is designed to facilitate: the commercial exploitation of the work, generating the revenue that is seen as essential for future creation and innovation. In a digital era, the CMO has become an increasingly important player. And because they are typically monopolies (only in a few territories – the US, South Korea – do CMOs compete with each other), there has been a growing demand for transparency in the way they operate, including the administrative structures, licensing schemes and distribution policies.