27th Oct 2016

MEPs back pan-EU music licence deal

  • Online music sites will be able to buy pan-EU licences under the new legislation (Photo: Douglas Heriot)

Online music providers such as Spotify and iTunes will be able to buy licences allowing them to offer music across the entire EU, under legislation backed by MEPs on Tuesday (4 February).

Deputies in the European Parliament strongly backed a new law that will allow music download sites to secure music rights from collective management organisations that are valid across the EU.

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  • Online music sites will be able to buy pan-EU licenses under the new legislation (Photo: European Commission)

Organisations managing authors' works will be required to prove that they can process data from service providers showing when music is downloaded or streamed online, and that they can match this data to the music by their clients.

Under the current regime, the estimated 250 organisations representing artists in the EU have to get licences to offer music on a country-by-country basis.

MEPs say the law should stimulate the development of EU-wide online music services and that lower licensing costs will mean cheaper prices and greater access for consumers.

Meanwhile, collective rights groups will be required to pay artists within nine months of the end of each financial year to ensure that artists' performing rights are paid out faster.

The rules "will make it possible for users to have access to copyright-protected content throughout Europe," said Marielle Gallo, the French centre-right MEP who took the legislation through parliament.

“This directive is a clear signal that copyright can be easily adapted to the Internet. Copyright has an essential role to play in the digital economy,” she added.

"The digital music revolution will no longer be hampered by outdated EU law," said UK conservative MEP Sajjad Karim. "There are already some great online music services in different EU countries and soon they can be made available right across the continent."

The EU recorded music market was worth around €4.1 billion in 2012, while the industry is also responsible for an estimated 6.7 million jobs.

Single market commissioner Michel Barnier described the bill as "a cornerstone of the digital single market," adding that it would "contribute to wider availability and better choice of offers of online music in Europe."

The Performing Rights Society also welcomed the passing of the bill which it said would "deliver high standards for governance and transparency, along with a voluntary framework for aggregation of repertoire for online multi-territory licensing underpinned by agreed standards."

The new directive, due to come into force in 2016, now needs the final sign off from EU governments, which is expected to happen within the next couple of weeks.

Poland defies EU on rule of law

Prime minister Szydlo said the European Commission concerns over rule of law in Poland were political grudges.

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