Questions and answers

| December 9, 2013

(updated on 3ed of October 2017)

Abbreviations

CS – Collecting society
C3S – Cultural Commons Collecting Society SCE mit beschränkter Haftung (C3S SCE)
GEMA – Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische 
Vervielfältigungsrechte (society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a collecting society?
2. What do you already offer?
3. Can I register my music already?
4. What does it mean to “register works for the utilization of the usage rights”?
5. Where is the collection agreement contract?
6. Will the C3S also represent content other than music?
7. Does the C3S operate worldwide?
8. Can I register as a regular member as a musician if I am from a country that does not belong to the European Union?
9. In my country there is no active structure of the C3S. What next?
10. Do I have to leave my current collecting society in order to be able to become a member of the C3S?
11. I am not yet a member of a collecting society, but my music is already being performed. Shall I first register with another collecting society, or shall I wait until the C3S gets active?
12. Can you also take care of licensing matters and collect royalties worldwide retroactively?

Membership

13. Who can become a member?
14. What happens after sending the membership form?
15. Can my registered association become a member of the C3S?
16. What are the membership options, and what are their distinctions?
17. Why should I become an investing member? What are my benefits?
18. Why should I subscribe to more than one share?
19. Can I subscribe to more shares after already having made a subscription?
20. Is my invested capital going to increase?
21. Can I become an investing member first and a regular member later?
22. Is there a membership fee?
23. Is it possible to be exempted from the membership fee?
24. What happens if I just don’t pay the membership fee?
25. Unfortunately, my music career did not work out like I expected. Do I have to quit now?
26. How do I terminate membership?
27. What happens if I quit?

1. What is a collecting society?

When music is played in the radio, in a club or on stage, the composers and the authors of the lyrics should benefit from it. But it would be far too complicated to make a separate contract with each individual composer or writer. This is why artists join forces in collecting societies, where they can register their works. Broadcasting companies and event organizers receive clear conditions of use from the collecting society. The revenues gained by the collecting society are then distributed to the members. The legal foundation for this process is the Copyright Administration Act. The German Patent and Trademark Office monitors all collecting societies on behalf of the state.

2. What do you already offer?

We are currently not allowed to offer anything at all, because this is permitted only with aproval by the official authorities. And that is precisely the problem: musicians are facing us and ask for a service, which we can only offer, if they help us to get there at all.

This is probably the reason why there was no alternative to the GEMA for decades: it would have been possible at any time, but there has never been the critical mass of musicians who have understood “Gosh! If I help, then something will happen!”

3. Can I register my music already?

At the moment it is not yet possible to register music with us. As soon as this changes, we will inform our members immediately.

4. What does it mean to “register works for the utilization of the usage rights”?

For the area you assigned to us (for example live performances), you commission us to raise fees from the performing entity and to later distribute them to you.
This only affects certain rights. You do not give up your copyright to us. We represent, and protect, your rights on your behalf.

5. Where is the collection agreement contract?

The collection agreement contract is currently being written – we keep you updated via our newsletter.

6. Will the C3S also support other content besides music?

First, we start with the music – we are quite busy working on the prerequisites right now. As soon as music is established, it is quite possible that we also consider other content. Whether it comes to this – time will tell.

7. Does the C3S operate worldwide?

We are a European cooperative, which will make it very easy for us to operate across Europe. We also have to expand this phase by phase, after the start in Germany has been successful. It is extremely difficult to operate on a global scale, however, and will only be able to run on reciprocal agreements for the time being, because, unlike Europe, copyright regulations can be very different elsewhere (copyright in the USA, for example, is quite different from continental European copyright law).

8. Should I register as a musician or musician from a country that is not part of the EU?

If your music is played in countries where we are allowed to play, we can represent you in these countries. Please contact us and describe your situation, then we can evaluate together whether a membership is useful for you.

9. In my country there is no active structure of the C3S. What next?

If you would like to help build a C3S initiative in your country: excellent! We are happy about any kind of support. Just contact Veit Winkler (responsible for internationalization): veit.winkler@c3s.cc

We also embrace new team members outside the EU. We need a team for each country in which we want to be active. We are looking forward to your support – please contact Veit also in this case.

10. Do I have to leave my current collecting society in order to be able to become a member of the C3S?

No. Your collecting society can not prohibit you to become a member of the European Cooperation C3S. Only when you sign a collection agreement contract with the C3S, i.e. commission us to represent your rights for the utilization of your music, there might arise conflicts with your current collecting society. Depending on the collecting society you belong to, it could be that you will have to exempt certain areas (for example live performances or online representation) or individual pieces, or that you will have to leave the collecting society altogether. Should you then decide that you do not wish to be represented by the C3S after all, you can remain a supporting member and be happy about the positive effects of the activities of the C3S while remaining a member of your old collecting society. Or you can leave the European Cooperation C3S again. In this case you will receive a refund of the value of the shares you subscribed to and will lose nothing.

11. I am not yet a member of a collecting society, but my music is already being performed. Shall I first register with another collecting society, or shall I wait until the C3S gets active?

If you assume that you will already receive significant revenue from another collecting society (which is not always necessarily the case, even if your music is already being played) before the C3S is officially registered as a collecting society, this might be a feasible option. It also depends on which collecting society you consider, and in which country your music is primarily played.
Therefore the answer is that it depends on your individual situation. We are sorry that we can not tell you more, but there are just too many issues involved. We are happy to support you and to give you advice – you are welcome to write to us and describe your personal situation.

In order to clarify the whole issue you should now that, for example, the GEMA in Germany seems to store the royalties it collected on behalf of non-registered artists for a while (however, this has not been officially confirmed). They could therefore be paid retroactively, after the artist has become a member. This means that you could first become a member of the C3S – if our registration process takes too long for you, you could still become a member of the GEMA, without a loss for you. But please contact the GEMA and ask how things are handled there.

12. Can you also take care of licensing matters and collect royalties worldwide retroactively?

No. For this, the licensees would have to constantly create immense reserves, so that they do not go bankrupt if suddenly a bill for the last 10 years in in the mailbox.

13. Who can become a member?

In principal, everybody can become a member. Every natural person, but also legal entities (e.g. companies and registered associations). A distinction is made between regular members and investing members: Regular member are artists, who register at least three works to be represented by the C3S. Investing members do not register any works to be utilized by the C3S. Regular member can only be natural persons. Investing members can be natural persons as well as legal entities.

14. What happens after sending the membership form?

The most important thing: “you” and “we” is a distinction that should be omitted when one is a member. Tariffs, distribution plans, membership fees, etc. are esteblished by the members themselves, who want to work on it, not by a secretive circle of administrators and lawyers.

15. Can my registered association become a member of the C3S?

Yes, as a supporting member. Every legal entity can become a member. A multiple membership is possible if you register as a natural person and also register your company or association. However, only one right to vote can be held per person, because corporate bodies can not be registered as regular members and therefore receive no right to vote. You find the membership form for corporate bodies at https://archive.c3s.cc/aktuell/legal/forms/C3S_SCE_corporation_en.pdf.

16. What are the membership options, and what are their distinctions?

The two membership options are compared with each other in the following list:

Regular member Investing member:
The member is a natural person The member is either a natural person or a corporate body (a legal entity, for example a company, a registered association, etc.)
The member is an active artist and creates musical works
The members registers at least three pieces to be represented by the C3S The member does not register any works for utilization
The member has the right to vote in the general assembly The member has no right to vote

17. Why should I become an investing member? What are my benefits?

You could be an advisor. This means that you can participate in the debate, contribute your arguments, present your motives and attitudes when the organisation of licenses and their use is discussed. As an investing member, you can be present in the general assembly, but you have no right to vote.

18. Why should I subscribe to more than one share?

In order to support a great project that might shape the future of the music business. Every Euro invested into the cooperative brings us close to the goal we share: fair and transparent conditions for all musicians.

19. Can I subscribe to more shares after already having made a subscription?

Sure, at the moment: just fill in the form again, but after that don’t print and send the generated form but the one behind this link.

20. Is my invested capital going to increase?

This is not to be expected. The subscription to shares serves the objective of investing into a project that can have a positive influence on the music industry. The investment might therefore be definitely worthwhile for you as a musician or as an organizer of events. However, it should not be reckoned that the value of the shares rises or falls in connection with the success of the collecting society.

21. Can I become an investing member first and a regular member later?

Yes, no problem. If you wish to change your status, just write us an e-mail with the same e-mail adress you used for registering your membership.

22. Is there a membership fee?

First of all, you become a member of the cooperative by signing at least a share of 50€ (you become co-owner of the C3S). Additionally we are currently charging a provisional membership fee of 50€ per year to cover current costs. Later on, the membership fee will be dependent on the actual license revenue, so that no more than the revenue is paid.

After we have received the membership form, you will get a confirmation by e-mail (within a few days). After you have been accepted as a member of the C3S, you will receive a document of proof and a receipt.

23. Is it possible to be exempted from the membership fee?

Yes. After receiving the invoice you can apply for exemption with a simple mail to office@c3s.cc and will receive a cancellation invoice. The exemption is only valid for one year. As am exemption reason we accept that you already have a Sustain running or financial reasons (e. g. you rely on social welfare).

24. What happens if I just don’t pay the membership fee?

We will offset your outstanding amounts from later receipts or in case of cancellation from share restitution claims.

25. Unfortunately, my music career did not work out as expected. Do I have to quit now?

There is the possibility to change to an investing membership if you would like to continue supporting us. As an investing member the payment of the annual membership fee is voluntary. In return you waive your right to vote as a member at the general assembly and the C3S will not utilize your works.

26. How do I terminate membership?

The cancellation must be made on paper and sent through postal service. The document needs a handwritten signature. Please print out the sample form here: https://archive.c3s.cc/aktuell/legal/forms/C3S_SCE-quit_de.pdf

27. What happens when I leave C3S?

In principle, you are repaid the value of the shares you have subscribed. However, the value of a share depends on the financial situation of the C3S SCE and can drop, in case of losses, as low as 0€. In addition, the disbursement of the shares may also be suspended if it would cause the capital of the C3S to fall below the minimum capital.

The disbursement does not take place immediately because the term of notice for membership in the cooperative is one year at the end of the year according to the statutes. After the approval of the annual financial statements for the year following the date of the membership termination, the credit balance is paid to the departing member if the minimum capital is not undercut. Therefore the winding up of membership can – depending on the date of termination – take more than two years.

If you do not pay the membership fee without asking for exemption, your outstanding amount will be offset against the payment claim from the shares you have subscribed.

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