What is a Collective Management Organization?
Music Copyright is a complex web of legislation, contracts and rights management, and at the heart of this dynamic are Collective Management Organisations or Performing Rights Organisations (PROs). These organizations, such as BMI, ASCAP in the US, SACEM in France, and others around the world, are responsible for collecting, managing and distributing copyright royalties. Their central role is to simplify the remuneration process for artists; a responsibility which is becoming more challenging to navigate in the modern music world.
Interested in learning more? This article dives deeper into the crucial role that these entities play in the protection and management of musical copyright.
Collection, Distribution of Royalties and Protection of Rights
PROs' mission is to collect royalties from a variety of sources using sophisticated technology, ranging from public and radio broadcasts to streaming and live performances. By acting as intermediaries between music creators and users, PROs also play a central role in protecting artists' rights. Their responsibility extends to ensuring that any public use of music is authorized and remunerated, encompassing licenses for broadcasting in public spaces, concerts, radio broadcasts, films, and much more. In this way, PROs ensure not only that royalties are collected, but also that artists' fundamental rights are preserved in a complex musical landscape.
In addition to their role in negotiating licenses with companies and organizations, PROs set fair tariffs and negotiate agreements to ensure fair remuneration for creators while facilitating access to a wide repertoire of music. At the same time, they play an active role in the fight against counterfeiting and unauthorized use of music, using surveillance technologies to detect unauthorized use and being able to take legal action on behalf of artists to enforce their rights. This dual role underlines the importance of PROs in preserving copyright and building a fair music ecosystem for creators.
PROs act as key players in the education of music creators. They provide educational services aimed at informing artists of their rights and guiding them in understanding the complex process of copyright management. These educational programmes cover a range of topics such as negotiating contracts, diversifying sources of income, understanding royalties, and the strategic use of distribution platforms. By investing in the education of creators, PROs build resilience and empower artists, equipping them with the knowledge they need to successfully navigate the ever-changing music industry.
Challenges for PROs
While PROs play a crucial role in the music ecosystem, they encounter diverse challenges. Massive data management is a major issue due to the substantial volume of copyright information. Additionally, diversifying revenue models becomes imperative in a swiftly changing music landscape, marked by the emergence of new forms of online distribution. Adapting to rapid technological changes remains a constant concern, demanding agility and innovation to keep pace with evolving creator needs and industry advancements.
New technologies, such as AI-generated deep fakes, add an extra layer of complexity to this delicate balance. Deep fakes, utilizing artificial intelligence to create manipulated content, pose a growing threat to the integrity of original works. The work that they create is obscure and elusive, drawing influence from a variety of copyrighted sources in a way that is difficult for PROs to track.
With this in mind, alternative solutions were developed to navigate and safeguard the rights of modern artists. Platforms harnessing AI to establish control, such as CoverNet by MatchTune, provide a revolutionary solution to the contemporary challenges of copyright management. Leveraging proprietary AI-powered technology, CoverNet outperforms current tools in its ability to detect AI-generated deepfakes, unlicensed covers and song modifications, in addition to general unauthorized use of music in video content. Technology such as this can be harnessed by PROs to better secure oversight on uses of their members’ copyright.
In conclusion, PROs are much more than mere guardians of musical copyright. Their role extends to educating creators, solving the industry's complex challenges, and constantly seeking innovative ways to support artists' creativity. In an ever-changing music world, PROs remain an essential pillar, working to ensure fair remuneration for artists while facilitating the distribution and use of music, thereby contributing to the richness and vitality of the global music landscape.