Keith Hill

Keith Hill has over 13 years experience of managing intellectual property information through his work for royalty collection societies. He presently works for the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and the Performing Right Society (PRS), the UK societies which represent thousands of composers, songwriters and publishers of music.

Keith is responsible for the research and development into new technologies to enable the protection of intellectual property rights used in electronic commerce in the digital age. Through membership and affiliation to a wide range of separate R & D projects and initiatives Keith keeps MCPS and PRS at the forefront of key developments which are likely to shape their future and the protection of their members’ rights. Most of these initiatives are linked by the common objective of providing an effective electronic copyright management framework for the protection of creators and their creations.

Keith is a member of the MPEG-4 IPR Requirements Group which is specifying the requirements for managing the identification and protection of content in audiovisual works. The group is responsible for deciding what means of identification should be used and how identifiers should be managed within MPEG objects. This extends to the application of content protection mechanisms, such as watermarking and encryption, required to protect the IPR information held within digital objects; and the tracking and monitoring of contents for reporting usage and modification history to their originators and rights holders.

Through its membership with the Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) MCPS and PRS are contributing to the implementation of the Common Information System (CIS). Keith is a member of a number of the working groups within CIS and will establish an important link between its strategy for implementing creation identifiers with the goals of the INDECS project. As a member of BSI, the UK national standards organisation, Keith will be contributing to the formal process to attain ISO recognition of the ISAN and ISWC numbering conventions.

Keith represents CISAC in its contribution to the EC funded IMPRIMATUR project. Within the project he is actively involved in the technical work package responsible for the design of the IMPRIMATUR business model to be used as the basis for trading and protecting IPRs. This includes an elaboration of the function of unique numbering of creations within an electronic trading environment.


The Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and the Performing Right Society (PRS) are UK societies which represent thousands of composers, songwriters and publishers of music.

Acting on behalf of its members, MCPS negotiates agreements with those who wish to record music on formats including CDs, cassettes, videos, multimedia, audio visual and broadcast programmes. It subsequently collects and distributes the ‘mechanical’ royalties due from the use of recorded music to the copyright owners.

PRS members assign to PRS their rights of public performance, broadcasting and cable transmission (collectively known as the ‘performing right’). PRS licenses those rights to users of the three rights - including broadcasters, cable operators, live concerts, pubs, clubs, hotels and shops. PRS distributes the royalties collected to its writer and publisher members and to the members of affiliated societies worldwide whose rights it represents.

PRS and MCPS have recently formed an operational joint venture, Music Copyright Operational Services Ltd (MCOS) with the purpose of developing a single infrastructure and integrated systems to support the licensing activities of the two companies. Their shared experience in the management of copyright information and the development of sophisticated licensing and royalty collection systems places the PRS/MCPS Alliance in a key position to support an electronic copyright management function in a virtual trading environment.