EU plans to end copyright monopoly

Draft proposals that would end the national monopolies held by music royalty collection societies have been leaked from the European Commission. Under the proposals around two-dozen collecting societies in Europe would be given 90 days to terminate their agreements.

While the practice of having single societies for collecting copyright fees has worked in areas such as pubs and clubs, the process has resulted in a cumbersome process for Europe’s cable and satellite operators.

Last July a coalition of platform operators and content providers asked the Commission to reject a proposal from the collection societies’ association Cisac to offer multi-territorial licences covering performing rights for the internet, satellite and cable.

The 27 companies that included Liberty Global, Deutsche Telekom and RTL said the proposed settlement would result in a fragmentation of the market.

The new proposals would see the societies competing against each other with each able to represent the others catalogues. The proposals were given the green light by an EU advisory committee, but the final decision rests with competition commissioner Neelie Kroes.