BRUSSELS — The European Union has warned 16 collecting societies that amass royalties on behalf of music authors that a cross-licensing arrangement they agreed to in 2001 may break European competition rules.
The orgs grant online commercial users “one-stop shop” copyright licenses, which include the repertoires of all societies and are valid in all their territories.
While they accept that new arrangements are needed to account for the blurring of national borders in the online world, Eurocrats argue the deal is unfair because commercial users can use the monopolistic collecting society only in their own country.
Brussels thinks orgs should follow the 2002 IFPI simulcasting agreement, which established pan-European licensing without imposing territorial exclusivity. This means TV and radio broadcasters can get a license from any of the collecting societies to simultaneously transmit their music broadcasts via the Internet.
The preliminary opinion gives orgs the chance to defend themselves before Brussels takes action.