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This page looks at industry, academic and government studies of copyright collecting societies and collective intellectual property rights administration.

It covers -


There are no major academic overviews of collecting societies at a global level, although insights are offered in more restricted accounts of particular organisations such as GEMA or SACEM. An overview is provided by WIPO's document Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights.

Most of the academic attention has focussed on the music sector, presumably because of the interaction of bundles of rights/uses (and thus societies) and the size of the market. There is a useful overview in Collecting Societies in the Music Business (Apeldoorn: Maklu 1989) edited by David Peeperkorn & Cees van Rij.

La gestion collective du droit d'auteur en Europe (Basle: Helting &
Lichtenhahn 1995), edited by Reto Hilty, offers insights into the EU regimes.

    economic and industry studies

Ruth Towse's 2001 Copyright & the Cultural Industries: Incentives and Earnings paper (PDF) offers estimates about the value of IP in the music sector and how the pie is sliced.

Harold Vogel's Entertainment Industry Economics (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 1998), Richard Caves' Creative Industries: Contracts Between Art & Commerce (Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press 2000) and Mancur Olson's bleak The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press 1971) discuss licensing principles and practices.

A perspective is provided by Shane Simpson's Music Business (London: Omnibus 2002) and The Composer in the Market Place (London: Faber 1975) by Alan Peacock & Ronald Weir.

The 1998 paper on New Strategy Combinations in the Intellectual Property Rights Arena: The Challenge to Established Principles of Reciprocity & Solidarity in Music Copyright by Roger Wallis, Charles Baden-Fuller, Martin Kretschmer & George Klimis highlights reciprocity and competition questions. The Global Music Industry in the Digital Environment: A Study of Strategic Intent & Policy Responses 1996-99 (PDF) by Kretschmer, Klimis & Wallis and The Interface Between Intellectual Property Rights and Competition Policy (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2007) edited by Steven Anderman are particularly valuable. Fabrice Rochelandet's 2002 Are copyright collecting societies efficient? An Evaluation of Collective Administration of Copyright in Europe (PDF) offers another economic perspective.

More jaundiced accounts of high times and dodgy accounting in the music sector are highlighted here. A view from UNCTAD is provided in the 2000 Copyrights, Competition & Development: The Case of the Music Industry (PDF) by Birgitte Andersen, Zeljka Kozul-Wright & Richard Kozul-Wright. Comments about futures are provided in Ariel Katz's 2004 paper The Potential Demise of another Natural Monopoly: New Technologies and the Future of Collective Administration of Copyrights.

    government reviews

Some of the most valuable writing about collective administration is found in government reviews of national legislation, collective administration regimes and the operation of particular societies.

Examples include the Australian 1995 Review of Australian Copyright Collecting Societies report, the Intellectual Property & Competition Review Committee report on IP, the Report on Implementation and operation of the APRA complimentary licence scheme and the UK Merger & Monopoly Commission's 1996 Performing rights: a report on the supply in the UK of the services of administering performing rights & film synchronisation rights. The Australian Copyright Law Review Committee (CLRC) 2002 report on the relationship between contract and copyright law is also of value.


Much of the writing about the evolution and operation of particular collective administration bodies has been triumphalist and is not readily available.

Works are particular significance include-

James Coover's Music Publishing, Copyright & Piracy in Victorian England (London: Mansell 1985)

Cyril Ehrlich's Harmonious Alliance: A History of the Performing Right Society (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 1989)

Benjamin Kaplan's An Unhurried View of Copyright (New York: Columbia Uni Press 1968)

Lyman Patterson's Copyright In Historical Perspective (Nashville: Vanderbilt Uni Press)

Peter Shillingsburg's Pegasus In Harness: Victorian Publishing & W M Thackeray (Charlottesville: Uni Press of Virginia 1991)

Simon Novell-Smith's International Copyright Law & the Publisher in the Reign of Queen Victoria (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1968)

Pointers to works on the broader history of copyright are found in the Intellectual Property guide elsewhere on this site

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