back to article Complex licensing hamstrings EU music market

Fragmented and complex publishing arrangements are hindering the growth of a European online music market and must be replaced with more open and transparent agreements, music industry groups and the European Commission have agreed. Record labels EMI and Universal, retailers Amazon and Apple and licensing bodies PRS for Music …


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  1. Peter2 Silver badge


    In other words, the law is different in different countries.

    My goodness, who'd have thought it? And the EU wanting to further extend it's tendrils into rewriting our existing laws, now there is a shock.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "should be open and based on sound business principles"

    That rules out the music industry entirely then!

  3. Steve Kay


    Whilst I'd agree that guvmint interference is generally bad, the current state of music licencing is far worse, and for the most part this does not involve re-writing laws as much as novating contracts.

    By analogy, lawyers are currently rummaging through customer bags to look for music purchased abroad at all of the sea- and air ports, to look for "unlicenced" copies.

    "Welcome to back to Harwich sir; you seem to have a Dutch language CD in your car. You've not paid the licence for this music in your country, I'm afraid it's off to chokey with you."

    "Thank you for travelling with Skytrain; whilst you may take your portable DVD player with you onboard, all British-purchased DVDs must be left here - they have not been licenced for use in Madrid."

    If the EU can slap the content companies upside the head with a box of blank CD-Rs to make fairer and easier for Joe Schmoe to buy, with better pricing, then more power to them.

    Just as long as it doesn't involve constant surveillance of our internets.

  4. Tom 35

    Stupid controle freaks

    "an important step" towards the creation of a pan-European online music market.

    How about they work on a pan-world market?

    I can buy a CD from, .com,, but I can't buy an MP3? Why is that?

    If I want to buy something from iTunes Japan, and I'm willing to pay the Japanese price + exchange I should be able to. Why should I be limited to the pathetic selection at iTunes Canada?

  5. frank ly

    Wait a minute

    " Extensive fragmentation of rights and the lack of effective rights clearance mechanisms create challenges to efficient and transparent music licensing,"....... ....etc...

    Who was it who set up the labyrinthine cross licensing agreements, exclusive distribution rights and bashed the ears of lawmakers for years to get this rats nest enshrined in law?

    Step forward the big record labels. I'm sure they'll be able to do something sensible.

  6. Adam Salisbury

    Disband the Big Four

    Disbanding the big four is the only path to innovation, legal P2P and a protiable online music industry. It is those majors who've created the licensing minefield they find themselves trapped in, victims of their own protectionism.

    Just like the newspapers they dismissed the web as the 'that irritating dial-up thing' until it was too late and now the longer they drag their feet the less they'll end up making from whichever business model they pick as all this time we're getting more and more accustomed to getting it all for free.

    Who's going to pay anymore than £10 a month for an online music service now, the same people who'll pay for Sky News' web content that's who!

  7. Matthew Ellen

    The internet as a country

    Make the internet a country in its own right.

    I know I sound insane, but think of the problems that might solve. I call dibs on president.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    bored of whining recording industries

    i think what would make life easier for all of us is for the EU to just say to the member countries and the record industries this is how it's going to be done and live with it otherwise sod off.

  9. cannon

    Global Price Fixing

    Lol as apple already stated its big media that is to blame as they want to charge different countries more & not just because of tax, this is one reason for regional DRM its not just because of ratings bodies as they would like to make you believe.

    FTA: EU blames record labels, not Apple, for iTunes restrictions

    The European Commission has said that it sees the record companies - not Apple - as being responsible for consumers' inability to buy tracks at the lowest prices by shopping across national borders.

    'Our current view is that this is an arrangement which is imposed on Apple by the major record companies and we do not see a justification for it,' Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd told reporters.

    The world's major record companies are Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Group and Warner Music Group.


    lets not for get who is actually behind the MPAA - RIAA, these are the companies that need to be targeted and boycotted into changing their ways, purchase only 2nd hand media and do not purchase anything branded sony, why allow the fecktards to dictate Orwellian hardware DRM designed to take away rights not to stop piracy anymore.

    Name and shame the companies as all the **AA trade group name is for is to protect the corporate globalists from bad press.


    # Sony BMG Music Entertainment

    # Warner Music Group

    # Universal Music Group

    # EMI


    # Sony Pictures

    # Warner Bros. (Time Warner)

    # Universal Studios (NBC Universal)

    # The Walt Disney Company

    # 20th Century Fox (News Corporation)

    # Paramount Pictures Viacom—(DreamWorks owners since February 2006)


    If Sony payola (google it) wasn't bad enough to destroy indie competition you have this:

    Is it justified to steal from thieves? READ ON.

    RIAA Claims Ownership of All Artist Royalties For Internet Radio

    "With the furor over the impending rate hike for Internet radio stations, wouldn't a good solution be for streaming internet stations to simply not play RIAA-affiliated labels' music and focus on independent artists? Sounds good, except that the RIAA's affiliate organization SoundExchange claims it has the right to collect royalties for any artist, no matter if they have signed with an RIAA label or not. 'SoundExchange (the RIAA) considers any digital performance of a song as falling under their compulsory license. If any artist records a song, SoundExchange has the right to collect royalties for its performance on Internet radio. Artists can offer to download their music for free, but they cannot offer their songs to Internet radio for free ... So how it works is that SoundExchange collects money through compulsory royalties from Webcasters and holds onto the money. If a label or artist wants their share of the money, they must become a member of SoundExchange and pay a fee to collect their royalties.'"

  10. Marcel van Beurden

    It used to be quite simple

    1. Go to record store (in whatever country)

    2. Choose any cd

    3. Pay money

    4. Go home and enjoy

    No shop owner ever asked me to show my passport or read and sign a license agreement. The cd box just says: copyright <year> <band/company>. Look what the record companies and all of their innovation got us now: less music, worse quality (both content and sound), relatively expensive, all kinds of limitations (DRM!). I will shed no tears when all record (big) companies cease to exist today.

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