Most collecting societies have now implemented their own code of practice but the Copyright (Regulation of Relevant Licensing Bodies) Regulations 2014 gives the Business Secretary the power to step in when that code fails to meet a minimum standard. The Government will also be able to force any collecting society that doesn’t have a code to adopt one. Fines of up to £50,000 can be imposed under this new legislation.
Last year UK collecting societies brought in a total of £1bn in licence fees for their members.
Intellectual Property Minister, Lord Younger, said: "Any efforts that support self-regulation should be welcomed and I am pleased to see the progress that collecting societies have made in agreeing minimum standards and setting their own codes of practice.
“The additional backstop power that has come into force today is there to make sure those standards are met and to give businesses the certainty and clarity that they need."
Kevin Fitzgerald, chairman of the British Copyright Council Working Group on Principle of Good Practice, said: “I am sure that the positive and collaborative approach taken by the industry has helped to bring about this smooth conclusion to the legislative process.
“The minimum standards already adopted by collecting societies and now underpinned by law, are an important step that will strengthen our industry.”
The Government has published legal guidance on the new regulations for collecting societies and licensees.