About us

The Copyright Tribunal’s primary purpose is to resolve commercial licensing disputes between copyright owners or their agents (collecting societies) and people who use copyrighted material in their business.

We don’t deal with cases involving copyright infringement or criminal piracy of copyright works. These issues are dealt with by the civil courts.

Who we are

We’re an independent tribunal established under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988.

The tribunal’s secretary is a member of staff of the Intellectual Property Office based in London. The tribunal consists of a chairman and 2 deputy chairmen who are appointed by the Lord Chancellor. The 8 ordinary laymembers are appointed by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Our responsibilities

We’re responsible for resolving disputes between collecting societies and users of copyright material.

Collecting societies have the authority to license copyrighted works and collect royalties on behalf of their members. They collect royalty payments and distribute the royalties to the copyright owners. The disputes we resolve usually relate to the terms and conditions of licences, or the refusal by a collecting society to provide a licence.

The tribunal’s jurisdiction covers the whole of the UK.

On 20 March 2008 the Innovation, Universities and Skills Committee published its Second Report of Session 2007–08, ‘The work and operation of the Copyright Tribunal [HC 245]’ which sets out the tribunal responsibilities.

Ongoing objective and priority

The tribunal’s ongoing objective and priority is to respond promptly and efficiently to all enquiries and disputes.