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.