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Collecting Societies

The Issue

Collecting Societies licence the copyright (e.g. of a book or song) for their members, the copyright owners. Small businesses may be a member of a collecting society or a licensee. We realise the support collecting societies offer their members but areas of concern remain around:

  • A lack of transparency over charging and tariffs
  • Heavy handed treatment by some collecting societies

A quarter of our members who have a relationship with a collecting society, have at some point made a complaint about it.

Action FSB have taken

  • We’ve continually lobbied for greater transparency around licensing tariffs.
  • We meet regularly with collecting agencies and their members to discuss the minimum standards they must reach.

Our Goal

We believe members of collecting societies have the right to adequate remuneration for the use of their copyright. We want collecting societies and representative organisations to work jointly, to make it clear how their fees are set. They should also be more transparent when working with small businesses.

Achievements in...



  • The longstanding concerns of our members and other licensees have led to changes in the way collecting societies are regulated. 

  • Collecting societies now operate according to a self-regulatory code of practice. The Government has the power to introduce Statutory Regulation, if collecting societies fail to comply with minimum standards.

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