ECJ reference on dental surgery music could set important precedent

June 2010

Collection societies, record labels, music publishers

The Corte di Appello di Torino has made a reference to the European Court of Justice by in Case C-135/10 SCF Consorzio Fonografici v Marco Del Corso. Here the questions, involving copyright, arepossibly of great interest to collection societies across Europe, not least in the Uk where the PRS have adopted an fairly aggressive approach to contacting businesses to ask for payment for the use of music.

“1. Are the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations …, the TRIPs Agreement … and the WIPO … Treaty on Performances and Phonograms … directly applicable within the Community legal order?
2. Are the abovementioned sources of uniform international law also directly effective within the context of private-law relationships?
3. Do the concepts of ‘communication to the public’ contained in the abovementioned treaty-law texts mirror the Community concepts contained in Directives 92/100 [on rental and lending rights] and 2001/29 [on the Information Society] and, if not, which source should take precedence?
4. Does the broadcasting, free of charge, of phonograms within private dental practices engaged in professional economic activity, for the benefit of patients of those practices and enjoyed by them without any active choice on their part, constitute ‘communication to the public’ or ‘making available to the public’ for the purposes of the application of Article 3(2)(b) of Directive 2001/29?
5. Does such an act of transmission entitle the phonogram producers to the payment of remuneration?”
Posted by Hugo Cox at

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