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EU orders pan-European music licensing

updated 12:30 pm EDT, Wed July 16, 2008

Pan-European music OK'd

The European Commission has ordered music copyright organizations to allow pan-European licensing schemes, says the Associated Press. At present, companies looking to sell music throughout Europe must negotiate agreements with 24 separate collecting societies, scattered throughout the European Union. While this may protect national industries and culture, the Commission has ruled that it also breaks antitrust regulations, giving the societies monopolies in their respective homelands.

The licensing scheme has additionally posed an obstacle to online music stores such as the Apple-run iTunes, which has had to found separate storefronts across the EU even though they all rely on a single currency, the Euro.

Resistance to pan-European licensing has been fought by artist groups like the ECSA, which argues that it will result in diminished royalties for musicians, and may force small- and medium-sized businesses out of the market as obstacles to multinationals are lowered.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. resuna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005

    -2

    Why an obstacle?

    Why is this an "obstacle" for iTunes? It's unfortunate that they "had to" create multiple storefronts, but they didn't do it because they wanted to fragment the iTunes store, and being able to consolidate the storefronts will be a benefit for Apple.

  1. elroth

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2006

    +1

    obstacle

    The old licensing scheme (the current one) is the obstacle - it was really hard (and slow) for Apple to set up all those separate stores, with different content in each one.

    A pan-European licensing deal would remove that obstacle.

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004

    -1

    Bad decision

    This will pave the way for multi-national record companies to plow through Europe and destroy the cultural diversity that exists right now.

    They whiners that don't like the pricing should move elsewhere for a while and come to see how good they actually had it before.

  1. muso_rah

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    0

    Cultural diversity?

    It may destroy the network of licensing organisations and companies that hinder distribution of material. Currently some material is not available in all markets because the local licensing hasn't been agreed.

    It may not be, say, Universal Music withholding the license, it may be whoever holds the license for Universal Music properties in that country.

    People wishing to perform certain famous musicals in France must negotiate with the rights holders in New York, as they are the "local" agents for that nation, not the people who license performances in London who deal with Great Britain and some other areas on the continent.

  1. muso_rah

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    -1

    Cultural diversity?

    It may destroy the network of licensing organisations and companies that hinder distribution of material. Currently some material is not available in all markets because the local licensing hasn't been agreed. The artist and the publishers may be desperate to enter that market, but unless the local agent makes they deal, they are out of that market except via the "grey market".

    It may not be, say, Universal Music withholding the license, it may be whoever holds the license for Universal Music properties in that country.

    People wishing to perform certain famous musicals in France must negotiate with the rights holders in New York, as they are the "local" agents for that nation, not the people who license performances in London who deal with Great Britain and some other areas on the continent.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    stuff

    Why is this an "obstacle" for iTunes?

    You misread the article. The current system is an obstacle. As you say, the proposed one would be much better (in theory).

    As a professional musician, however, I think it's the absolute worst decision the EU has made so far (and they've made a lot), because the licensing rates will be drastically reduced for composers and lyricists

    But I think there's two arguments here. I think the order itself is a valid and good order, for all involved. It is the associated licensing rates that you seem concerned with, and which should be argued about.

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999

    0

    And yet

    the major labels will still prevent Apple from offering DRM-free music... That also has an large negative effect on music sales...

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