EU To Rule On New Music Rights System

Despite the efforts of such high-profile campaigners as Paul McCartney, Bee Gee Robin Gibb, Bryan Ferry, Mark Knopfler and even French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the European Union looks as if it will stick with its plan to order a new system of collecting online music rights.

German chancellor Angela Merkel had also joined in the protest, claiming the new scheme could wipe out hundreds of thousands of small writing and publishing firms.

But EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes is likely to rule against the monopoly of national groups that collect performing rights.

Her decision, which is to settle an anti-trust case dating back six years, means that composers will no longer be obliged to register with the collecting society in their home territory.

They’ll be able to shop around for the organization that will collect their rights in the most beneficial way.

The EC believes choosing one society to act for them on a pan-European basis will result in less of their income being creamed off by having to use a number of collection agencies in different territories.

Broadcasters will be able to operate an EU-wide license with one society, rather than having to negotiate separately with the 24 agencies that operate within the EU region.

According to the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance, forcing collecting societies to compete on price on a pan-European basis could cause the whole system to break down.