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MCPS agrees ‘memorandum of understanding’ in response to CRM Directive

By | Published on Tuesday 17 January 2017


The UK music publishing sector’s mechanical rights society MCPS has penned a nice little ‘memorandum of understanding’ to explain how it is endeavouring to comply with the collective licensing regulations that were set out in the European Union’s Collective Rights Management Directive, even though it doesn’t really have to. So that’s nice.

The new rules governing collective licensing across the EU stemming from the 2014 CRM Directive went into effect last April. Among other things, the Directive aimed to give the members of collecting societies – or ‘collective management organisations’ if you prefer – like the UK’s PRS and PPL, more oversight, flexibility and transparency. Because who wouldn’t want more of that? I’m all for more oversight, flexibility and transparency, me.

But what about MCPS? It – of course – represents the ‘mechanical rights’ in songs, as opposed to the ‘performing rights’ repped by PRS. The two organisations have long worked closely together in various guises, with PRS doing most of the legwork, so that licensees almost don’t need to know the difference. But they remain separate organisations, and that close alliance is currently under review.

Whereas PRS is owned by its members, MCPS is actually owned by the Music Publisher’s Association. That ownership arrangement – and the society’s management structure – means, says MCPS, that it doesn’t actually meet the definition of a ‘CMO’ under the EU Directive.

Nevertheless, MCPS says it “wishes to show its commitment to the principles of the Directive by setting out publicly the ways in which it either achieves or strives toward alignment with the UK regulations to the extent that is possible given the ownership structure of MCPS”.

To that end, it has been liaising with the government’s Intellectual Property Office, which oversees the regulations set out in the CRM Directive in the UK, resulting in this here ‘memorandum of understanding’, which will now be reviewed annually.

Says the IPO’s Ros Lynch: “We welcome the conclusion of this memorandum of understanding, which gives valuable clarity to MCPS’s members and users about the standards they can expect. We look forward to continuing to work with MCPS to monitor their progress”.

Meanwhile the boss of the MPA and MCPS, Jane Dyball, added: “MCPS wholeheartedly welcomes the CRM Directive’s principles of transparency, representativeness, accountability, efficiency and fairness and fully appreciates the commitment shown by the IPO in ensuring full compliance with those principles throughout our industry”.