A new CMO to improve and protect earnings

BAPLA press release.



– BAPLA members are a diverse group of picture libraries and agencies comprising of a majority of sole traders and small businesses, several cultural heritage organisations, and a handful of medium and large companies, representing image makers from across the globe and importantly the UK.

– Our trade organisation represents a significant number of rightsholders through this diversity, contributing to an enviable cultural industry. It is our expertise and investment in bringing this diversity to the commercial market that accounts for the success of many image-makers, such as photographers, over the last 40 years.

– Look at many UK book and magazine publications, whether for business, education, or public sector, and you will find a substantial number of images sourced from our members.

– BAPLA members have also long been an integral part of claiming secondary licensing revenue for visual artists, with some members claiming royalties since 2002.

– Over the years the practicalities and administrative burden of claiming secondary royalties have become increasingly challenging, although many agency contributors continue to prefer to have their agencies claim on their behalf.

– Due to unprecedented changes, this year and last, the uncertainty about which claims can be made has grown significantly, affecting a range of rightsholders incomes.

The CRM Directive

– The introduction of the EU Directive in April 2016 brings in a new era of collective rights management, with the aim of ensuring that the revenue collected by Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) is distributed to all those who are entitled to claim a share, on whatever basis, permitted by law or contract.

– Its intention is to provide the freedom for rightsholders to choose their CMO under a fair and balanced process.

– The Directive outlines clear legal requirements for all EU CMOs to adhere to, meaning there are specific obligations a collecting society must fulfil. These duties encompass:

  • Equal treatment to all categories of rightsholders;
  • Improvements to the functions of a CMO;
  • Transparency in the disclosure of information & reporting;
  • An equitable distribution of royalties.

A new choice

– Based on the provision of the Directive, BAPLA members voted to set up a new collecting society with the key message of a partnership based on choice and transparency.

– The new CMO aims to:

  • Incorporate principles from the Directive and support the rights of rightsholders;
  • Offer a competitive choice for rightsholders who want to claim through their chosen conduit on a non-exclusive basis;
  • Reduce the administrative and financial burden for claimants by providing a simple, fair and transparent process;
  • Work alongside other collecting societies to ensure that the maximum income is returned to all visual artists for copied works;
  • Protect revenue streams by being involved in discussing licensing schemes and locating rightsholders, especially those who are non-members but have a right to remuneration.

– BAPLA will remain as a trade organisation whilst a new not-for-profit company, with an independent board, is established to oversee the foundation of the new CMO.

– Like the BAPLA trade organisation, the CMO will be eligible to a company or an individual, operating as a picture library or agency.