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Europe nearing pan-European music licensing model
|27 мая 2009|
Music rights holders are nearing agreement on a pan-European music license, which would enable music to be bought online across the European Union, the European Commission said Tuesday.
Currently, most online retailers limit sales of digital media to the countries in which they are based, or where the buyer is based, due to complex copyright rules and fees across Europe.
After a meeting of industry players, which the commission invited to submit views on cross-border music sales, several key organizations have committed to agreeing to a pan-European license, the commission said.
"There is a clear willingness expressed by major players in the online distribution of music in Europe to tackle the many barriers which prevent consumers from fully benefiting from the opportunities that the Internet provides," said Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
The French collecting society SACEM, which levies copyright fees on behalf of the French artists, has confirmed it is willing to entrust other collecting societies with pan-European licensing of its song collection, the commission said.
Multinational record company EMI has also said it is ready to give its whole repertoire of songs to rights managers to look after its interest in all of Europe, the commission said.
Apple Inc., meanwhile would consider making its content available online to all European consumers, if it was able to license rights on a pan-European basis, according to the commission.
Apple has in the past come under commission scrutiny for restricting consumers to buying music only in the country they live in by asking them to use a credit card issued in the country they are based. Apple has maintained that the need to restrict online sales is due to restrictive licensing agreements.
E.U. countries all have their own collecting society, which has the exclusive right to collect royalties from pubs, filmmakers and advertisers that use the music of songwriters in that country. A percentage of the royalties is passed back to the artist who has contracted the society to look after its copyright.
The commission last July ordered the national collecting societies to open up their national markets to competition. It argued that the societies' practice of forcing artists to use their national collecting society for rights management had created 27 monopolies in Europe.
However until now the rights managers have resisted the call for more competition, and have taken the case to the European lower court.
The pan European broadcaster RTL Group, which was the original complainant against the collecting societies, was cautiously pleased with SACEM's announcement to open its business model up to competition.
RTL Group has been seeking European one-stop shops for music rights since 2000, but so far "we have not seen any evidence that the collecting societies are willing to let new licensing models emerge," the company said. However, the company was hopeful that SACEM's statement will change that.
Источник: Total Telecom