European Commission proposes Europe wide music licensing for online use

August 2005

Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet

The European Commission has proposed that rules for registering and administering copyrights in Europe need to be changed to simplify procedures and to make it easier for artists to secure copyright registration across the European Community and provide a ‘one stop shop’ for copyright users such as legal download sites. The Commission suggests that it is the complexity and cost of the current system involving numerous collection societies each operating on a country by country basis that is holding back online growth in Europe (and not piracy and illegal file swapping). A EC study found that the cost of licenses to sell tracks in all 25 member states currently tops EUR 19,000. With profit per download standing at approximately EUR 0.10 it would require the sale of over 4.75m tracks to break even. “The gap is very wide; we need to do something about this” said a spokesman for Tilman Lueder, the EU’s commissioner for internal market and services. At the present musicians, record labels and publishers need to register copyrights with collective rights managers (collection societies such as the PRS, GEMA and SACEM). The collective rights managers then license songs to end users such as broadcasters, online services, discotheques, clubs, venues and other users. This process can be complex and expensive. Although they can rely on reciprocal arrangements between collection societies, artists often need to secure copyrights or song registration in each of the European Union’s 25 member states. Online music services, including Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes and RealNetworks Inc.’s RealPlayer then have to obtain Internet licenses from each collective rights manager. Each country requires separate copyrights for the right to transmit songs over the Internet. As a result of these costs, online music sales in Europe have lagged the U.S. Last year, the U.S. had an estimated EUR207 million in online music sales compared with Europe’s EUR27.2 million. The Commission said it will create a single system governing online music rights by working with the collective rights managers, not by creating a “super-regulator.” Under the Commission’s plan, each country will offer artists of any nationality a single, pan-European license

See:,,1523746,00.html and

No Comments

Comments are closed.