Managing your copyright

Collecting societies and licensing bodies


If you wish to use copyright material, you usually need to get permission from its owner. You can do this directly with the owner, or through a certain type of an intermediary organisation. These organisations are known under various terms, including:

  • licensing bodies
  • collecting societies
  • collective management organisations

What is the role of collecting societies?

They offer licences for the use of copyright work and specialise in certain areas of copyright, including:

  • printed material, such as in books and journals
  • artistic works and characters
  • broadcast material, including terrestrial or satellite broadcasts
  • film, eg the showing of a film in public places, cable retransmission and certain uses of music videos

Collecting societies can:

  • agree licences with users on behalf of owners
  • collect any royalties the owners are owed
  • offer a blanket licence for all the works by owners it represents in some cases - eg for music to be played in a shop or restaurant

For more information, see GOV.UK's guide on licensing bodies and collecting societies.

From 1 January 2021, EEA collective management organisations may not automatically represent UK right holders and collective management organisations. For current information, see: collective rights management from 1 January 2021.