Copyright and Collecting Societies
Copyright focuses on a “work”, in music this will mainly be a “work of music“, defined as sequences of notes which constitute a “unique intellectual creation“. In addition to works of music, there are also “works of literature” in music, in other words a text to accompany a music composition.
The number of creators is certainly a unique feature in Austria, being a country of music. This assessment can be derived when comparing the Austrian and the German collecting societies. According to its annual report 2015, the membership of the German GEMA was made up of 61,000 creators, 5,300 publishing houses and 4,350 legal successors6, in the same year, the membership of the Austrian AKM consisted of approx. 19,800 creators, 688 publishing houses and 1,560 legal successors.7 While the number of inhabitants in Germany is ten times that of Austria, it only has three times as many creators.
Collecting societies are private institutions which manage copyrights or related rights on behalf of a large number of creators or owners of related rights with a view to joint exploitation.
They grant licences for the exploitation of works, levy the royalty fees and distribute the revenues according to fixed rules among the creators and others holders of rights. In Austria, like in the European Union, collecting societies hold a monopoly (this not being the case e.g. in the U.S.); therefore, there is only one collecting society for every form of exploitation within a category of works.
The collecting societies have concluded reciprocal agreements, so that the Austrian collecting societies can grant licences for almost the entire world repertoire in Austria, and vice versa, the Austrian repertoire can be licenced almost world-wide.
Info page on copy right and collecting societies: http://www.musicaustria.at/praxiswissen/urheberrecht-verwertungsgesellschaften/
Staatlich genehmigte Gesellschaft der Autoren, Komponisten und Musikverleger (AKM) registrierte Genossenschaft mit beschränkter Haftung & Tochtergesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung mechanisch-musikalischer Urheberrechte Gesellschaft m.b.H. (austro mechana)
Wahrnehmung von Leistungsschutzrechten Gesellschaft m.b.H.
Verwertungsgesellschaft für audiovisuelle Medien GmbH
Verwertungsgesellschaft Rundfunk GmbH
financial report p.52