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Wednesday, July 06, 2005
EU Commission plans Europe-wide licensing of online music

The efforts on the part of the EU Commission to simplify the exploitation of copyrights on the Internet have this week been stepped up to a degree that has apparently caused them to come to the public's awareness.

On Thursday according to the Financial Times Deutschland the Commission intends to present a study on the subject. What was more, the paper states, the Commission was planning to introduce a Europe-wide license for online music. The latter was designed to boost cross-border sales of music tracks and stimulate competition in the sector. The EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Charlie McCreevy, will according to the report decide by this fall whether these plans are to be implemented through a directive or whether a set of recommendations is to be issued to the EU member states. The abolition of national collecting societies such as the German GEMA was not being planned, however, the paper writes.

Because it considered "common regulations for the collective safeguarding of rights and in particular with respect to the work of the collecting societies to be urgently required," about a year ago the EU Commission had suggested the creation of common legal provisions for collecting societies. These would make it easier to sell music tracks via the Internet, because to date online shops have to sign a separate agreement on the exploitation of copyrights in each EU member state. The EU Commission is in favor of there being in future only one collecting society with which Internet music shops would have to settle accounts for their music sales in all 25 EU member states. Setting up online shops would thereby become a lot less difficult and hence more attractive. The competition arising in turn between the societies could also lead to better conditions for suppliers.

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