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Extended collective licensing (ECL) are collective copyright and related rights laws and licensing agreements. ECL agreements by law extend to rights owners who are not members of the collecting society agreeing the licence with a user. The first ECL laws and agreements were established in the Nordic countries in the 1960s for television and radio broadcasting.
ECL is a form of collective rights management whereby ECL laws allow for freely negotiated copyright licensing contracts for the exclusive rights granted by copyright. ECL laws are designed specifically for mass use, where negotiating alone will rarely allow a single right owner to fully financially benefit from their exclusive rights. Under ECL laws, collecting societies negotiate ECL agreements on behalf of their members, as well as non-members because ECL laws allow collecting societies to enter into ECL agreements on behalf of all rights owners. Once the collecting society and the user, such as a TV broadcaster, have negotiated an ECL agreement, it comes into force and covers only the types of copyrighted works for uses specified in the ECL licence.
The first extended collective licensing (ECL) laws were established in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden (Nordic countries) in the 1960s. Committees in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, with participation from Iceland, reviewed copyright laws and proposed ECL for the use of literary and music works under copyright in radio and TV broadcasting. In subsequent years ECL has been extended to other copyrighted works and areas of use, including the reuse of broadcasts through re-broadcast, on demand services and online.
Authors, performing artists, publishers and producers are well organised in Nordic countries and collecting societies have a high membership. Collecting societies cooperate in many instances to offer joint licensing agreements. According to Daniel Gervais these are ideal conditions for collective rights management of copyright and related rights through ECL.
While individual ECL laws and agreements in Nordic countries vary depending on type of copyrighted works and area of use, the Nordic model shares the following characteristics:
Article 2 of the Satellite and Cable Directive state that authors have the exclusive right to authorise the communication to the public of their work by satellite. According to the directive provides that such authorisation can only be given by agreement, and hence can not be subject to compulsory licensing. Article 3.2 of the directive outlines the following criteria for an ECL system, which is allowed under the directive. It states that:
"A Member State may provide that a collective agreement between a collecting society and a broadcasting organization concerning a given category of works may be extended to rightholders of the same category who are not represented by the collecting society, provided that:
- the communication to the public by satellite simulcasts a terrestrial broadcast by the same broadcaster, and
- the unrepresented rightholder shall, at any time, have the possibility of excluding the extension of the collective agreement to his works and of exercising his rights either individually or collectively."
Paragraph 18 of the InfoSoc Directive preamble states that “This Directive is without prejudice to the agreements in the Member States concerning the management of rights such as extended collective licensing”.