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Collective licensing at an international level

In many countries, copyright collective management organisations (also known as collecting societies or “collective management organisations” or “CMOs”)

  • licence large-scale use of works on behalf of large numbers of rightsholders
  • collect royalties for those uses
  • distribute these royalties back to rightsholders

There are collective management organisations that specialize in different categories of works and creators. In the field of text and image-based works these organisations are called Reproduction Rights Organisations (RROs). They typically deal with the licensing of secondary uses of books, journals, newspapers and magazines – in both their paper formats AND their online or digital formats – and in some cases also with visual content such as motion pictures, photographs and illustrations.

Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), the parent organisation of RightsDirect, is an RRO itself. There are RROs in almost 80 countries, ranging from sophisticated organisations with long histories to start-up organisations in developing countries. Most RROs belong to the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO).

RROs around the world work with different licensing models either required or permitted by their local copyright law. According to IFRRO’s Quick Guide there are three basic types of RRO licensing models

  • Voluntary collective licensing
  • Voluntary collective licensing with legislative support
  • Legal licences

Some RROs offer a combination of features from the three licensing models. RRO licences can also differ in the number and types of works they include, the types of uses they allow, and their geographic scope.

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