On 7 November 2022, the Ministry of Law ("MinLaw") and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) launched a public consultation to seek feedback on a draft subsidiary legislation regarding the regulation of collective management organisations (CMOs). Members of the public are invited to submit their feedback by 4 December 2022.
In more detail
From 7 November 2022 to 4 December 2022, members of the public can submit their views on the draft Copyright (Collective Management Organisations) Regulations ("Regulations").
Briefly, a CMO is appointed by copyright holders to manage rights in their copyright works. A CMO administers the licensing of rights, collection of royalties and enforcement of rights on behalf of creators. This intermediary role benefits users of copyright works (such as restaurants, cinemas and shopping malls that play music) by facilitating use of such works, as well as creators by facilitating the payment of royalties for use of their works.
Presently, CMOs are not specifically regulated under Singapore law.
However, once the Regulations take effect, CMOs will be governed by Part 9 of the Singapore Copyright Act 2021 ("Act"), which, will establish a mandatory class licensing scheme to regulate CMOs. Under the scheme, all CMOs will automatically be licensed and have to comply with all applicable class licence conditions.
IPOS will be empowered to take regulatory actions against CMOs and their officers for any breach of licence conditions, such as commencing an investigation, conducting an audit of the CMO's business, imposing financial penalties or issuing regulatory directions and/or cessation orders (for a specified or indefinite period).
Given the critical role that CMOs play in the copyright ecosystem, the objectives of this new regulatory framework are to introduce minimum standards of transparency, good governance, accountability and efficiency in such organisations, as well as to ensure that CMOs are able to adapt to the digital environment in which works are created, consumed and distributed.
Class licensing scheme
The draft Regulations will set out the detailed provisions of the class licensing scheme, namely: (a) the set of mandatory class licence conditions that CMOs must comply with; and (b) the procedures relating to regulatory actions taken by IPOS, including procedures for making representations before IPOS takes regulatory action, applying for reconsideration of IPOS' regulatory action and appeals against IPOS' reconsidered decision.
Key licence conditions proposed are as follows:
- Members' rights: Requiring CMOs to grant members key rights in membership agreements
- Collection and distribution of royalties: Requiring CMOs to establish and comply with a distribution policy that accords with minimum standards of transparency and accountability
- Dispute resolution: Requiring CMOs to establish and comply with a dispute resolution policy
- Good governance: Requiring CMOs to put in place safeguards to ensure they operate in a manner that is transparent and accountable
- Provision of information to the public: Requiring CMOs to provide key information relating to their operations and portfolios
Part 9 of the Act and the Regulations will come into force at the same time, with a six-month notice period to afford CMOs a period of transition, which may involve the development and implementation of new policies and procedures to ensure full compliance with the class licence conditions when they come into effect.
In due course, IPOS will also release guidance notes on best practices with recommendations, illustrations and templates to assist CMOs with meeting the class licence conditions.