About Collecting Societies

What is a collecting society?

A collecting society is an organization that licenses and manages copyrighted works on behalf of copyright owners.

Songwriters and composers become members of collecting societies to collect royalties from use of their works. Collecting societies monitor performances and distribution of the works on radio, television, in public venues, and online.

How do collecting societies work?

Collecting societies typically operate in a particular country/region. The society enters into various agreements with collecting societies in other countries/regions. These agreements decide how royalties that are earned in one country/region are paid to the songwriters and composers in another.

Example: A songwriter from Brazil might collect royalties when a cover band plays their song in a pub in London. The songwriter might also earn royalties when a fan shares an online video of themselves covering the song.

How do collecting societies affect YouTube creators?

You might get a notice that one of your videos may include copyrighted content administered by "Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society" or “one or more music publishing rights collecting societies.” It means YouTube's Content ID system found one or more musical compositions in your video and collecting societies may claim a portion of the rights.

Collecting society notices will appear in the Content tab in YouTube Studio, next to the uploaded video. Learn more about Content ID and how it works.

As a YouTube creator, what actions can I take?

If you get a collecting society notice and believe your video was claimed in error, listen to your video again and ask yourself:

  • Is there music in the background?
  • Was someone singing or playing a cover version of a song?

If the answer is yes to either question, then these uses of a copyrighted work often require royalties be paid to the songwriter or composer.

If you're certain no copyrighted work is included in your video, intentionally or unintentionally, you can dispute the claim.

If you dispute a claim without a valid reason, the content owner may request a take down of your video. If we get a valid takedown request for your video, your account will get a copyright strike. Learn more about copyright strikes.
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