The Society Publisher Forum is a joint initiative of CISAC and ICMP and is supported by the AIMP, IMPA and IMPF representing publishers.

The SPF is the forum to design and promote services developed for Publishers and delivered either directly by CISAC or via Societies. These services have the common goals of improving accuracy and transparency of musical works documentation.

The SPF's purpose is to determine, align and improve the rights management lifecycle, including copyright, registration, disputes, licensing support, collection and distribution of royalties, stretching from the writer to the licensee:

  • Specification, Commissioning and Recommendation of Common Standards:
    - Best practices
    - File Formats and Choreographies
    - Business Rules to manage the Common Standards
  • Adoption and Implementation Reporting on the agreed and refined Common Standards
  • Promotion of the Common Standards
  • Discussion of the impact of industry developments and emerging technilogies, e.g. chatbots, AI, and NFTs

The SPF's activities cover the following areas:

Common Works Registration (CWR), as the name suggests, is a standard format for the registration of musical works. CWR provides for all of the data elements necessary for a Publisher to register a work at a Performance or Mechanical Rights Society. It also provides a means of tracking registration status and facilitates communication between Publishers and Societies. By utilizing a common standard for the work registration process, both Publishers and Societies benefit from a more efficient registration system. The common format results in a more accurate flow of song data between Publishers and Societies and in return results in cost and time savings while increasing the accuracy of royalty payments.

The standard format has been used by Publishers and Societies for many years and the specifications are under a constant review in order to meet to the most relevant needs of Publishers and Societies.

Implementation by societies and publishers can be found in the CWR implementation spreadsheet here. (Note: access restricted to participants only)

Latest specifications can be found in the CWR Document Pack

Latest developments: version 3.1 has been endorsed by the Society Publisher Forum at its last plenary meeting. The documents are available in the CWR Document pack.

Consult the members of the CWR working group.

The Common Royalty Distribution Format (CRD) is an electronic data interchange format to report details of distributed royalties from Society to Society or from Society to Members. This format contains details to make the distribution more complete and more efficient.

This standard is also under a constant review of the Working Group and Forum due to the need to have the most complete, reliable and updated information in the distribution.

Latest specifications can be found in the CRD Document Pack

The purpose of the Common Agreements Format (CAF) format is to provide Publishers, Societies and others with a standard format for the communication of data relating to agreements and specifically Publisher and writer collection shares and the works subject to the agreements. The CAF employs data standards that have been developed for the Common Information System (CIS) project of CISAC. CAF is a data format which conveys the flow of rights between one party & another and includes term, territory, right type & usage.

Latest developments: Official CAF specifications can be found here.

Implementation status: If you are registered with the Society Publisher Forum, please update your implementation status here.

Ensuring that the music used in commercials (advertisements) is correctly identified is a challenge for Creators, Societies and Publishers. With many stakeholders outside the Society/Publisher community within the life-cycle of a commercial; meta-data related to the music used in a commercial can often be lost. The SPF brings Publishers and Societies together to work on ways to improve the global distribution of royalties for music used in commercials.

The group has developed a new template (here) known as the ‘Commercial Sheet’. Creators, Publishers and Societies are encouraged to use the document when sharing information about music in commercials.

The Commercial Sheet forms the basis of two sets of information:

  1. As a ‘Submission’ form – containing the information which is available to Publishers at the creation of the synchronization license or the commissioning agreement. This should be submitted to societies at the earliest opportunity.
  2. As a ‘Cue Sheet’ – containing the additional information and all the relevant music details together with usage information where available.

The Commercial Sheet forms part of a wider set of recommendations for the industry, which include:

  1. Use of a standardised template – Commercial Sheet
  2. Circulation of key identifiers; the ISWC and Ad ID/clock number (or territorial equivalent)
  3. Use of music recognition technology for commercials
  4. Best Practice principles for Publishers
  5. Best Practice principles for Societies
  6. Access unidentified commercials (UC) lists for Societies, Publishers and Creators

The Cue-Sheet Standards & Rules simplifies the rules governing the identification of musical works used in audiovisual productions. The harmonisation improves the administration of music rights, brings a new consistency to the use of cue-sheets, and will lead to increased efficiencies and potentially reduced costs for rights holders and users.

The Cue-Sheets Standard & Rules document, and sample documentation are available for download.

The harmonisation will, in a nutshell, make life simpler and more efficient for all actors using cue sheets. The common goal is to ensure a standardised flow of data between Publishers, Societies and Producers, and thus improve the flow of revenue back to the creators and rights holders.

The project has involved the creation of a new comprehensive template – the Common Cue-Sheet – and a set of standardised terminology that can be used by Producers and Publishers across all the different formats and platforms.  

Using the common terminology, the Common Cue-Sheet describes the relevant metadata of both musical works and of the production in which the works are featured. It also includes the context and duration of the usage of the musical works, incorporating many existing internationally recognised standard identifiers. 

Particular benefits include:

  • improved efficiency when processing Cue-Sheets and amending the details of a musical work
  • a more efficient musical work registration process and more registrations of works
  • payment records can be linked to musical work documentation, so that publishers can efficiently track royalty payments 
  • greater consistency between the publishers’ registrations and the societies’ payments for exploitation of film/TV productions 

Latest specifications can be found in the Cue Sheets Document Pack


All Creators on a work must be identified by IPI number in order for the work to obtain an ISWC. CIS-Net Rights Holders Access is a dedicated interface for creators and publishers to search and view certain IPI Information. A unique search (for individual IPs) can be performed on CIS-Net RHA IPI. As well as IPI information, this search returns, where relevant, works associated with the IP to help the user establish they have found the correct IP.

CIS-Net Rights Holders Access is a dedicated interface for creators and publishers to search and view certain Interested Party Information which is stored on participating Societies’ CIS-Net databases around the world. This information is required to complete work submissions for the allocation of new ISWCs.

Only music Creators and Publishers with a current affiliation with a CISAC CMO are eligible to sign up.

Documentation is available here.

If you are interested in the service please contact your Society of membership.


CIS-Net Rights Holders Access is a dedicated interface for Creators and Publishers to search and view certain musical works Information which is stored on participating Societies’ CIS-Net databases around the world.

Only music Creators and Publishers with a current affiliation with a CISAC CMO are eligible to sign up.

Documentation is available here.

If you are interested in the service please contact your Society of membership.

ISWC Allocation Service

The key purpose of the ISWC Allocation Service is to deliver same day/next day ISWC for new works once the mandatory data requirements are provided, i.e. title is provided and all Creators are identified by IPI number. 

This service allows Publishers to receive an ISWC prior to submitting a full work registration. A submitter requests an ISWC from the service via their Society by providing defined ISWC meta-data in an agreed format.

Societies will provide their members with an FTP location for submitting files to the service and retrieving ACKS containing the new ISWCs.  

Since IPI numbers are required for all Creators on works submitted to this service, it is recommended that Publishers have access to CIS-Net Rights Holders Access (RHA) to retrieve IPI numbers. Access to RHA is managed by Societies.

To onboard to the ISWC Allocation Service, Publishers should contact their Society.

For further information, please click here.

ISWC Resolution Service

The key purpose of the ISWC Resolution Service is to help Publishers obtain the correct ISWCs for existing catalogues. 

A Publisher can request the existing ISWC from the service by providing a JSON or flat (txt) file which meets minimum criteria (Title, Creators, IPI Numbers). 

CISAC provides this service to Publishers and will validate each publisher prior to onboarding to the Resolution Service. Upon signing of the service’s Terms and Conditions, CISAC will provide Publishers with an FTP location for submitting files to the service and retrieving ACKS containing the existing ISWCs. 

For further information, please click here

To onboard to the ISWC Resolution Service, Publishers should contact