Reed Smith Client Alerts

Following the introduction of the Singapore Copyright Act 2021 (covered in our previous Client Alert), the Ministry of Law and Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) has launched a public consultation on the draft regulations for Collective Management Organisations (“CMOs”). The public consultation seeks to identify gaps and potential issues that may arise from implementation of the draft regulations, and it closes on 4 January 2023.

Authors: Bryan Tan Hannah Kong Goh Eng Han (Resource Law)

Purpose of the Draft Regulations

The draft regulations build on earlier consultations, which noted that CMOs require additional self-regulation and a class licensing scheme will provide a more transparent and efficient system for CMO members (i.e. the copyright holders) and users (i.e. persons using copyright works). While the draft regulations do not appear to change significantly how CMOs operate, they clarify some areas for users and members.

CMOs are not regulated specifically under Singapore law. The draft regulations set out a mandatory class licensing scheme for CMOs. Class licensing does not require CMOs to register with IPOS; CMOs only need to comply with the class license requirements (e.g. preparing annual reports, publishing portfolio information and observing distribution policies) to be licensed. Class licensing could help lower the barriers to entry and temper the monopolistic nature of CMOs currently. To comply, CMOs will have a proposed 6-month transitional period starting from the date the regulations enter into force. Overall, the draft regulations adopt a “light-touch” approach with CMOs given flexibility in deciding on how to achieve compliance and resolve disputes. IPOS does not administer approvals for tariffs and distributions, only intervening in limited scenarios using regulatory directions, financial penalties and cessation orders.

What is a CMO

The definition of CMO in s 459 of the Copyright Act 2021 includes corporate entities that carry out collective rights management activities. Certain classes of persons are excluded from the CMO definition, such as subscription service providers. This is because subscription service providers, whose business is video-on-demand or music-on-demand streaming, are typically the users of the copyright works. Thus, permitting them to operate as CMOs would be a clear conflict of interest.