European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes has welcomed
progress made towards pan-European music licensing following discussions
in the Online Commerce Roundtable. In particular, she welcomes
confirmation by French collecting society SACEM that it is willing, in
principle, to entrust other collecting societies with pan-European licensing of
its repertoire and to act as non-exclusive rights manager for publishers and
other collecting societies. She also welcomes confirmation by multinational
record company EMI that it is ready to entrust rights managers to offer its
repertoire for the whole European Economic Area (EEA) and notes Apple's
statements that if iTunes was readily able to license rights on a multi-territorial
basis from publishers and collecting societies, it would consider making its
content available to all European consumers, including those in EU countries
where iTunes is currently not available. Commissioner Neelie Kroes set up
the Roundtable in September 2008 in order to examine ways to reduce
barriers to online commerce so that consumers can take better advantage of
the opportunities offered by the Internet (see IP/08/1338 and SPEECH/08/437).
The report on the Roundtable, just published on the Europa website, outlines
the conclusions of the meeting that Commissioner Kroes hosted on 17
September 2008, as well as of a 16 December 2008 follow-up meeting which
focused on the distribution of online music.
Commissioner Neelie Kroes welcomed the conclusions of the Report, stating that:
"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. I therefore encourage the major players, in particular publishers and collecting societies, to move quickly to
adapt their licensing solutions to the online environment. I will review progress at the next meeting of the Roundtable that I will organise shortly with other major players in the online music market".
At the September Roundtable, all participants recognised the potential for EEA-wide
music licensing in the online environment, and that this was hindered by rights
generally being territorial and usually licensed for certain territories only.
Commissioner Kroes welcomes the readiness expressed by the participants to adopt
licensing solutions which are fit for the online environment. In particular, SACEM
expressed its willingness, in principle, to entrust other collecting societies with the
pan-European licensing of its repertoire and to act as non-exclusive rights manager
for publishers and other collecting societies. EMI is ready to entrust rights managers
to offer its repertoire for the whole EEA. For EMI, different entities (for instance, local agents) could be entrusted for efficient licensing purposes subject to a mechanism which ensures that the standards for licensing and administration are comparable between them.
Commissioner Kroes also notes Apple's statements that if iTunes is readily able to
license rights on a multi-territorial basis from publishers and collecting societies, it
would consider making its content available to all European consumers, including
those in EU countries where iTunes is currently not available.
As regards the online distribution of goods, a variety of views were outlined in the
Roundtable. The Commission will use the inputs of parties which participated in the
public consultation as an input for its ongoing review of the legal regime of vertical
restraints. Draft legislation on vertical restraints will be published during summer
2009 and subject to a public consultation for stakeholders to submit their views.
Commissioner Kroes will continue working with her colleagues in the Commission on
the issues of online piracy and counterfeiting and will, where appropriate, support
action on the regulatory side to tackle these damaging phenomena. In parallel, she
will continue to examine ways to eliminate unjustified barriers to online commerce.
The Roundtable report is available at:
(Source: taken from : http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/832&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en)