European Commission starts antitrust procedure against CISAC

By EDRi · February 15, 2006

The European Commission has decided to open formal proceedings against the
International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)
and its individual national members and has sent them a Statement of
Objections, as a first step in antitrust investigations

The Commission objects to parts of the contracts closed amongst
national authors and composers societies. Bilaterally the societies
close agreements on internet, satellite and cable transmissions.

The Commission is concerned that the royalty collectors are trying, by
various methods, to ensure that each of them maintain exclusive access to
broadcast royalties in the countries they operate. This might infringe on
the prohibition of restrictive business practices in the EC Treaty.

The occurrence of a network between the collecting societies by means of
these interlocking agreements ensures the collective societies a monopoly on
their domestic markets and prevent the new entrants from getting into the
copyright management market.

The contracts also include membership restrictions obliging the authors to
transfer their rights only to their own national collecting society as well
as territorial restrictions obliging the commercial users to get a license
only from the domestic collection society, limited to the domestic

CISAC has two months to present its defence in writing.

The procedure looks like a logical follow-up to the decision in 2005 to
create one European internet rights clearinghouse for internet content
providers. The Commission concluded that the current territorial system
“is a source of considerable inefficiency” and proposed a serious reform.
Following these actions the Belgian and Dutch music copyright collecting
societies, SABAM and BUMA, announced last year their intention to drop their
claims of national exclusivity on the licensing of online rights.

Competition: Commission sends Statement of Objections to the International
Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and its EEA
members (07.02.2006)

EC marks copyright monopoly’s cards (09.02.2006)

EDRI -gram NL and BE collecting societies to drop national exclusivity

EDRI-gram: Music: commission wants 1 internet clearing house (14.07.2005)