We’re the copyright Ombudsman.

Our job is to resolve complaints about bodies that either own or administer the licensing of copyright materials on behalf of third parties. These bodies are called collective management organisations.

How can Ombudsman Services help?

If you have a problem sorting out a complaint about a collective management organisation, we may be able to help. We investigate complaints fairly by listening to both sides of the story and looking at the facts. We decide what action, if any, should be taken when you and the collective management organisation cannot agree, and our service is free to use for consumers.

Who can use our service?

You can use our service if:

  • you’re a licence holder;
  • you’ve applied for a licence;
  • you’ve been approached to apply for a licence;
  • you’re a member of a collective management organisation; or
  • you’re representing a customer who meets the above conditions.

When can we become involved?

Before you can use our service, you need to tell the collective management organisation that you have a complaint. The best way to do this is to follow its complaints procedure, which is usually part of a code of practice. Each organisation will have its own code of practice, so contact them for more information about this.

What can Ombudsman Services handle?

The types of complaints that we can deal with include:

  • failure to follow proper procedures, as described in the code of practice;
  • incorrect licence charges;
  • rude or unprofessional behaviour;
  • unreasonable delays or failure to take action;
  • unfair treatment; and
  • incorrect or misleading information.

Our role is to resolve the complaint appropriately for you. We’re not here to punish collective management organisations when things go wrong. Our decisions are required on the organisation and enforceable in court.

We can require:

  • An apology
  • An explanation of what went wrong
  • A practical action to correct the problem
  • A financial award up to £5,000
  • We may also make recommendations to the organisation, so it can avoid similar problems happening again.

If you accept our decision to your complaint, it becomes final and the organisation has 28 days to put the remedy in place.

If you reject our decision, you lose the right to the resolution we have offered, but you keep your right to take your complaint elsewhere, such as the courts.

Contact us for more help and advice on:

Phone: 0330 440 1601