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The DPMA as Supervisory Authority of Collective Management Organisations and Management Entities

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Collective management organisations

Every use of a work protected by copyright, for example, copying of a text or communication of a musical work to the public, generally requires prior permission by the author. In particular, with the mass use of works, it is virtually impossible to seek permission in each individual case. Furthermore, since the author often has no knowledge of each particular use and consequently cannot assert a claim for appropriate compensation, the Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) generally manage the rights of creative people collectively.

CMOs are associations of creative people organised under private law. They grant licenses for the works managed by them, monitor the use of these works, collect royalties in order to subsequently distribute the revenues to the right holders on the basis of distribution schemes.

At present, 13 CMOs have the authorisation to conduct business in Germany. Since CMOs often have a monopoly position and act in a fiduciary capacity, they are subject to the government supervision, which is exercised by the DPMA.

Management entities

Since the introduction of the Collective Management Organisations Act (CMO Act) in 2016, the DPMA has also been the supervisory authority for dependent and independent management entities.

Dependent management entities are subsidiary companies of one or more collective management organisations. Insofar as collective management organisations outsource certain activities, such as the collection of remuneration claims against users, and the subsidiaries thus themselves act as a collective management organisation, they must also observe the provisions of the CMO Act and are subject to the supervision of the DPMA. In contrast to management organisations, dependent management entities are generally not required to obtain authorisation. However, to the extent that they manage copyright or related rights, they must notify the DPMA of their activities. Currently, seven dependent management entities have notified their activities.

Independent management entities are usually profit-oriented entities. They differ from collective management organisations, above all, by the fact that they are not associations of the creative people themselves. Rather, they are organised independently of the rightholders, but nevertheless manage the rights of the rightholders collectively like a collective management organisation and share their income with them. Only certain provisions of the CMO Act apply to independent management entities, mainly including information requirements; in this respect they are also subject to the supervision of the DPMA. They must notify the DPMA of the commencement of their management activities. Currently two independent management entities have notified the DPMA accordingly.

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Last updated: 23/04/18 

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