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Title: Collective management of music rights : a test of competition and industrial organisation theories
Author: Frabboni, Maria Mercedes
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 4456
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2009
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The management of music rights is currently carried out in a collective manner, by national organisations known as collecting societies. These organisations issue licences to commercial users, monitor their uses, collect royalties and distribute remuneration to rights holders. Collecting societies emerged as a response to the difficulty for authors to authorise personally every use of their work. They subsequently evolved into large and highly structured institutions that aggregate the interests of a wide and scattered array of rights holders. Collecting societies perform their activities within their national boundaries, as enforcers of territorial entitlements granted under copyright or droit d’auteur legislation. Cooperation between them has led to the establishment of a valuable network of reciprocal representation agreements for the exploitation of foreign repertoires. It is submitted, however, that the territorial connotation of collecting societies’ activities does not match the borderless character of music uses taking place via the internet. Technological and business solutions are open to cross-border uses but even such solutions still rely, to a large extent, on territorial licensing practices. It has been argued that this is an obstacle to the full development of online music services in the European Union. The problem for music rights management lies in the response to calls for new licensing models to arise, and in the challenge that such a response could bring to the existence of collecting societies. The query that this thesis tackles is whether the problem can be resolved via copyright instruments, or whether strategies based on competition are required to drive the market towards the desired outcome. It is observed that, in order to adapt to the changed environment, collecting societies have updated their reciprocal representation agreements to fit internet uses. The results of this process of adaptation have mostly been unsuccessful, due to their incompatibility with competition rules. Other models have been proposed, which envisage the elimination of reciprocal representation agreements and the implementation of mono-repertoire multi-territorial licences. These models also raise anti-competitive concerns. This study shows that the preferred solution to the defined problem is to be found in the assessment of rights management institutions from the point of view of the law and economics analysis, and more specifically through the lens of Industrial Organisation theories. The assessment conducted according to this approach highlights the strategic interactions in which rights managers engage, and demonstrates that multi-territorial licensing solutions now adopted for the internet function as by two-sided platforms competing in a market that remains highly concentrated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Law