British Copyright Council appoints Independent Code Reviewer

The British Copyright Council (BCC) today announced the appointment of an Independent Code Reviewer.

Walter Merricks CBE, former Chief Financial Ombudsman, was appointed by a selection panel chosen to represent the interests of both rights holders and copyright users.

Mr Merricks will conduct a review of the BCC’s ‘Principles of Collective Management Organisations’ Codes of Conduct’ following the first full year of implementation, to ensure that it remains fit for purpose.

The BCC developed its Principles policy document to establish a framework of good practice for Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) and a set of minimum terms to be used as the basis for CMOs individual Codes of Conduct. Fourteen CMOs have now adopted these guidelines.

The review will also reference the Government’s October 2012 benchmark recommendations ‘Minimum Standards for UK Collecting Societies’.

The first review will commence in November (2013) when Mr Merricks will call for evidence directly from the Ombudsman, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), The BCC, CMOs, copyright users and their representative bodies and others and he will investigate, as appropriate. His findings will be published in a public report.


Independent review is at the heart of the collecting societies' self-regulatory framework. It will ensure that the system retains the confidence of all the parties involved. I welcome the appointment of Walter Merricks as the Independent Code Reviewer. I look forward to meeting him and reading his report in due course.

Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger

I am delighted to welcome Walter Merricks as the Independent Code Reviewer. The experience and expertise he brings to the role will ensure he is a valuable contributor to the good governance of CMOs at a time when they face unprecedented technological, political and economic challenges.

Kevin Fitzgerald CMG, Chair of the BCC’s Working Group on Principles of Good Practice

For more information about this story please contact Lois Bray on 020 7400 3143 or

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Notes to editors

The 14 CMOs that have adopted the BCC ‘Principles’ self-regulatory framework represent a significant and valuable proportion of the UK’s creative industries, including music, publishing, film, television and the visual arts and are worth more than £25.6bn to the UK economy (Source: DCMS Economic Estimates, Dec. 2011).

About The British Copyright Council (BCC)

The British Copyright Council (BCC) was founded in 1965 and is a unique, not-for-profit organisation that provides a forum for discussion of copyright law and related issues and UK, European and International levels. The BCC aims to provide an effective, authoritative and representative voice for the copyright community and represent those who create, hold interests in, or manage rights in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, films, sound recordings, broadcasts and other material in which there are rights of copyright or related rights; and those perform such works.

About Walter Merricks CBE

Mr Merricks has a wealth of experience with professional, semi-judicial and public bodies and previously served as an insurance ombudsman before becoming founding chief financial ombudsman and leading the Financial Ombudsman Service for 10 years. He currently retains a portfolio of interests as a board member of the Gambling Commission, Ombudsman Services Ltd and the legal charity JUSTICE; service reviewer for the Legal Ombudsman and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; and chair of the trustee board of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

About Kevin Fitzgerald CMG

Kevin is Chief Executive of The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA), a Director on the International Board of IFRRO (The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations) and Chair of IFRRO’s European Group. He is also Chairman of Prisoners Abroad which works in close association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to look after the interests of British citizens imprisoned overseas.


Principles of Collective Management Organisations Codes of Conduct, British Copyright Council, November 2012Minimum Standards for UK Collecting Societies, HM Government, October 2012

About PRS for Music

Here for music since 1914, PRS for Music is a world-leading music collective management organisation representing the rights of more than 175,000 talented songwriters, composers and music publishers. Redefining the global standard for music royalties, PRS for Music ensures songwriters and composers are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. 

For 110 years it has grown and protected the rights of the music creator community, paying out royalties with more accuracy, transparency and speed. In 2023, PRS for Music paid out £943.6m in royalties and collected a record £1.08 billion in revenues.

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