BIEM [Bureau International des Sociétés gérant les droits d'enregistrement et de reproduction mécanique] is an international organisation representing mechanical rights societies.

Mechanical rights societies exist in most countries. They license the reproduction of songs (including in musical, literary and dramatic works). Their members are composers, authors and publishers, and their clients are record companies, production companies, and other users of recorded music. They also license the mechanical aspects of online music exploitation including streaming and downloads.

Every time a CD or LP containing protected musical works is manufactured, the producers require a licence from the owner of the works and they must pay royalties for each copy they manufacture or sell.

The mechanical rights societies issue the licenses and collect the royalties which they distribute to the owners of each work.
Members of BIEM enter into agreements to allow each of them to represent the others' repertoire. In this way, a BIEM society is able to license users for the vast majority of protected works in the world.
BIEM negotiates a standard agreement with representatives of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) - see below. Another role of BIEM is to assist in technical collaboration between its member societies and help resolve issues that may arise.
BIEM represents and defends the interests of its member societies, particularly in forums relating to authors' rights such as WIPO, UNESCO, TRIPS, the WCO  and AIM*.
Additionally, BIEM collaborates with international non-governmental organisations, which pursue the same objectives. These include, in particular, CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) and GESAC (European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers).
 * BIEM is represented on AIM's Anti-Counterfeiting Committee by GESAC.

Mechanical Right

The term "mechanical rights" dates back to the time when all reproductions of music were carried out by a mechanical process. Even though nowadays reproductions are carried out in a variety of electronic and digital ways, the term "mechanicals" has become enshrined into industry jargon.

The BIEM/IFPI Standard Contract

BIEM negotiates a standard agreement with representatives of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), fixing the conditions for the use of the repertoire of Societies. The standard agreement is applied by member societies to the extent that there is no compulsory licence or statutory licence in their territory.

The royalty rate agreed between BIEM and IFPI for mechanical reproduction rights is 11% on the Published Price to Dealers (PPD - the highest price charged by a record producer to a retailer selling directly to consumers) and concerns physical audio products only. Two deductions are applied on the gross royalty rate: 12% for rebates and discounts, and 10% for packaging costs. This results in an effective rate of 8.712% of PPD. Rates for audiovisual use of protected works are negotiated on a territory-by-territory basis, as are rates for Internet (streaming, downloading, etc.) and other usages.

The Standard Contract provides for a minimum royalty equal to two thirds of the normal royalty rate. There is also provision for a minimum budget royalty equal to 57% of the normal minimum royalty and concerns only re-releases of carriers, no less than one year after the original release, priced at least 35% below the original price.
The Standard Contract is a worldwide contract. Through their membership to BIEM, societies are bound to enforce the Standard Contract in their respective territories of exploitation but only to the extent that there are no statutory or compulsory provisions in force. For example, countries such as the USA, the UK, and Australia all have compulsory licensing provisions in their Copyright Law and various national methods of setting the applicable rate (see the BIEM Statutes).
The Standard Contract is in force one calendar year at a time until it is terminated by either Party with 6 (six) month notice period.