Music is Valuable!

STEF (Composers’ Rights Society of Iceland) is a non-profit collective rights management society that administers Icelandic and international copyrights for music creators and publishers whose music is performed in public.

Please note: Music publishers who wish to become members of STEF are advised to send an e-mail to and request a form of Membership Agreement specially tailored to their activities.

STEF's offices are open on weekdays from 10:00-12:00 hrs. and 13:00-15:00 hrs.

The STEF Staff

  • Anja Ísabella Lövenholdt
  • Arnar Freyr Frostason
  • Bergrós Gunnarsdóttir
  • Guðmundur Þór Guðjónsson
  • Guðrún Ásdís Lárusdóttir
  • Guðrún Björk Bjarnadóttir (CEO)
  • Hanna F. Jóhannsdóttir
  • Helgi Kr. Jakobsson
  • Hreiðar K. Hreiðarsson
  • Sindri Magnússon
  • Stefán Hilmarsson

The STEF staff (7. December 2023)

What's it all about?

STEF is the Composers Rights Society of Iceland; a society for composers, songwriters and lyricists.

STEF is a free, non-profit organization, entirely owned and governed by its members.

STEF’s main operations are collecting and distributing copyright royalties to right holders for the public performance of their works, both in Iceland and abroad.

STEF’s members also receive various additional services.

The benefits of being a STEF-member:

  • Registration of works is easy through STEF’s webpage.
  • Statements regarding distributions are simple and easily understood.
  • Access to information regarding registration of works and distributions is easy through each members “My Pages”.
  • STEF runs a small but effective office with short communication channels, where it’s easy to get in contact with the right people and get personal service.
  • Payment of copyright royalties for public performance and “mechanical” rights is at the same place. Outside the Nordic countries, different societies often manage these rights and/or the person in question needs to have a publisher to ensure that all payments for mechanical rights are collected.
  • A membership with STEF also guarantees payments from abroad through foreign sister societies of STEF, as well as from international music services such as Spotify, YouTube, and others.
  • All the works of STEF members are automatically registered and saved into an international database which is used by Nordic, British, and German collective management organizations, guaranteeing safe payments for public performances abroad.
  • STEF regularly offers its members various informative and educational courses and lectures.
  • Legal advice is available to members, such as reviewing of contracts regarding film and commercial scores, and contracts with labels and publishers. Advice is also offered regarding possible infringements of moral rights.
  • STEF holds several funds which offer grants for new recording, for publishing music sheets and arrangements, and for touring abroad, as well as for participation in composers’ camps. STEF also offers grants for composition through common funds with RÚV, Sýn and the church, as well as for composing major works.
  • STEF makes a total of 12 yearly distributions to it’s members.
  • All collected income is distributed after operating costs have been paid, in accordance with STEF’s allocation rules and Articles of Association.


According to special certification from the Minister of Culture and Business Affairs, STEF is authorized to collect royalties for performance of music and associated lyrics that are protected by the Copyright Act, irrespective of whether or not the association has been authorized to act as the music creator’s representative (extensive collective licensing). This also means that STEF is obliged to allocate the collected royalties to all rights holders, irrespective of their membership as long as STEF can identify their works. STEF disburses royalties to over 2.000 Icelandic rights holders each year. Due to STEF’s rather minute size, we have a special arrangement with STIM in Sweden, so that everything STEF collects belonging to repertoire by foreign right holders is distributed through STIM. 


STEF was established in 1948 by a group of Icelandic composers led by the composer Jón Leifs. Jón Leifs had few years earlier moved back to Iceland from Germany. During his life as a composer and orchestral director in Germany Jón had gotten to know how performing rights societies worked and brought back with him the idea of establishing such a society in Iceland.

STEF has around 6.700 registered songwriters, a considerable part of them are however deceased, as copyright is valid for up to 70 years after the death of the creator according to Icelandic law (as in most other countries in the world). In these cases, the heirs of the songwriter are entitled to royalties for the performance of the work of the deceased songwriter.

The database of STEF contains over 70.000 registered works, as it is a precondition for allocation of royalties that songwriters register their works with the society. STEF has reciprocal agreements with all major foreign sister societies which safeguard the rights of STEF´s members when their music is performed in their respective countries and at the same time it guarantees foreign right holders royalties for their performances in Iceland.

STEF currently employs 11 people, of whom three are part-time employees. Its offices are located at Laufásvegur 40 in Reykjavík where the organization has been since 1968.

Apart from collection of royalties for public performance in Iceland (and abroad through its foreign sister societies), STEF also safeguards copyright for its members and provides them with various services related to their musical works. In this respect, members can come to STEF for advice on concluding agreements with movie producers, advertising agencies and other third parties. STEF is also active in lobbying activities on behalf of its members towards the Icelandic government and parliament and its representatives sit on numerous committees on policy making in this field.

Ownership and Structure

STEF is a non-governmental organization governed by its members. The highest governance body is the Representative Council, consisting of 21 members. 7 of those are elected within a general election (with certain limitation on voting with regards to a minimum distribution of royalties). The rest is nominated by the two affiliated organizations of STEF. That is the Icelandic Society of Authors and Composers (FTT) and the Society of Icelandic Composers (TÍ). The Representative Council elects three members of the Board of Directors while the remaining four are also nominated by the affiliated societies. At least one Board member and three members of the Representative Council must be non-affiliated members of STEF.

Board of Directors / 2022-2024

Board Members
Bragi Valdimar Skúlason (FTT),  Chairman
Páll Ragnar Pálsson (TÍ), Vice Chairman
Eyþór Gunnarsson (FTT)
Hallur Ingólfsson (FTT)
Sigríður Thorlacius (utan félaga)
Sigurður Flosason (FTT)
Þuríður Jónsdóttir (TÍ)

Alternate  Board Members
Snorri Helgason
Hafdís Bjarnadóttir
Samúel J. Samúelsson
Pétur S. Jónsson
Óttarr Proppé
Aðalsteinn Ásberg Sigurðsson
Hildigunnur Rúnarsdóttir

STEF wants to ensure that its members’ copyrighted content does not become part of the development of artificial intelligence (AI) without their explicit consent. This includes but is not limited to language models, foundation models, generative AI systems, and recommendation algorithms.

STEF expressly reserves the right to engage in text and data mining in accordance with Article 2 of the Icelandic Copyright Act and article 4 in Directive (EU) 2019/790). Consequently, any utilisation of members’ works for text and data mining requires STEF’s authorisation, unless otherwise stipulated by law.

STEF emphasises that the rules in Article 2 of the Copyright Act and the EU law — in STEF’s view — do not provide access to text and data mining for the purpose of AI development. However, STEF is aware that this view is not shared, especially by international tech companies. According to the above, these rights are explicitly reserved regardless of this disagreement.

Requests for the use of works managed by STEF for text and data mining purposes should be directed to STEF at

Background for reservation of text and data mining

The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), including generative AI, is heavily reliant on substantial volumes of data. For effective training of an AI, access to comprehensive and diverse datasets is imperative. These datasets allow the AI to identify, learn, and comprehend intricate patterns.

When developing an AI capable of generating music and lyrics, these training datasets could, for example, consist of:

  • Music (audio) – including mixed recordings as well as individual tracks or stems
  • Lyrics
  • Digital representations such as MIDI files
  • Graphical representations in the form of sheet music/notes, chords, notations, tablatures
  • Text-based descriptions of the music in the form of metadata and tags
  • Data from composition databases, linking specific songs with specific songwriters.

By analysing these patterns, advanced models can be created that predict, simulate, and generate new data. These models – commonly referred to as large language models, foundation models, or generative AI systems – form the basis for many of the AI services we currently use and will use in the future.

This involves a comprehensive mapping of the sound and structures of music, enabling users to prompt an AI and have it generate music and lyrics.
The development of such services is contingent upon the contributions of music creators who, across generations, have enriched our musical culture and heritage.

In order to include copyrighted works in the training and/or development of AI, permission is required.

Reimbursement of Recording Cost

25% of recording cost for music is refundable.

Reimbursements are offered for recording costs for music incurred in Iceland. Producers can apply for reimbursements from the State Treasury of 25% of the costs incurred in the recording of music in Iceland. When more than 80% of the total recording cost is incurred in Iceland, the reimbursement is calculated on the basis of the total recording cost incurred within the European Economic Area.

Recording costs refers to the costs enumerated in in Article 6 of the Act on temporary reimbursement of recording cost. Hourly studio rates for recording, wage expenses incurred during the recording for hired performers, producers, engineers or studio personnel, post-production (including sound mixing and mastering), travel and transport costs for musical instruments and lead performers, own salary, c.f. Article 7. of law No. 110/3016. In order to apply for reimbursement for recording cost of phonograms, the phonograms have to contain 30 min of music, not more than 18 month passed between the release of the oldest phonogram until the most recent phonogram was released, no more than six months have elapsed since the release of the latest phonogram until application was submitted to the Ministry. Hourly studio rates for recording.

More information in English as well as an application form can be found here:

Distribution Rules of STEF

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