Tag Archives: digital songs

Songwriters fear trans-European licensing laws

Some of the world’s richest songwriter/musicians and most of Europe’s composer/songwriter associations have got together to protest against EU plans to force pan-European licensing of music online.
To protest the matter a selection of artists, including James Blunt, David Gilmour, Robin Gibb (pictured) and Sir Paul McCartney, today signed a letter of appeal to EC President José Manuel Barroso.
The issue? The EC is near complete on an antitrust investigation into how royalties are collected in Europe. At present, these are collected by national collection societies, which distribute money to artists on a national basis, however, the drawback of this traditional set-up, which has its roots in the days long before the common market, is that rights must be secured on a country-by-country basis, making it difficult to secure consistent rights across Europe. This means different online stores across Europe offer different selections, and clearly runs against the core EU principle of an open market.
If the Commission finds against the societies, the outcome would help online stores, such as iTunes, because the EC would likely force the creation of harmonised trans-European systems for securing rights.
However, ECSA warns that changes to the current situation could reduce the royalties musicians earn. EC regulators counter that the current fragmented market means development of Europe’s online music industry lags behind that of the US. As such the EC wants to create a trans-European copyright and licensing system for online music in an attempt to foster growth of such services.