We have reciprocal agreements with countries around the world which means content users can copy from publications published in more than 35 international territories.
We are members of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO) the main international network of collective management organisations for text and image. As a member we comply with the IFRRO Code of Conduct, which sets out what is expected in terms of their representation of copyright owners and relationship with users. Membership of IFRRO and compliance with the Code is a necessary condition to exchange a bilateral agreement with another country.
Each member operates under the terms of their national law, as well European and International laws where applicable. Differing laws give rise to different licence schemes in each territory. The 3 main types of scheme are detailed below:
Voluntary collective licensing:
We operate under a system known as Voluntary Collective Licensing.
Under voluntary collective licensing, a Collective Rights Organisation issues licences to copy content on behalf of copyright owners who have given their mandate. We receive our mandate via The Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) and The Authors Collecting and Licensing Society (ALCS) and other representatives of the copyright owners.
As the right of reproduction is an exclusive right, it is natural that collective licensing is set up on this voluntary basis.
Voluntary licensing with legislative support:
In some countries voluntary licensing is supported by legislation to cover the situation of ‘non-represented’ copyright owners, i.e. those copyright owners that might not have voluntarily mandated.
There are two types of this system; Extended Collective Licensing and Compulsory Collective Management.
An Extended Collective Licence extends the effect of a copyright licence to cover copyright owners who have not given their mandate directly. In this system a collective licensing organisation must also distribute revenue to non-represented rights-holders. To qualify they must also conduct licence negotiations voluntarily and must be nationally representative.
Under Compulsory Collective Management management of rights is voluntary but copyright owners are legally obliged to make claims only through a collective management organisation. In this way, the position of the user is safeguarded as a copyright owner cannot make claims directly against them.
Where Collective Rights Organisations operate under a legal licence, the permission to make copies is granted by the law. Copyright owners have the right to receive fair compensation and so royalties are collected by the Collective Rights Organisation for distribution. A specific type of Legal Licence system is the levy system where a small fee will be added to the price of copying equipment, such as a photocopier. Producers and importers of equipment are liable to pay the levy to a Collective Rights Organisation who will distribute the collected revenue to copyright owners.
Some territories will have a mixed system, operating a legal or levy system alongside voluntary licensing. Countries that have mixed systems are Australia, Italy, Spain and Greece.
If you are a copyright owner and you have a question about international licensing, why not contact us to find out more.