More Antitrust Interest in Online Music

9 Feb ’06

From, “European Union antitrust regulators said Tuesday they were investigating the European agencies that collect royalties for musicians from Internet sites — in parallel with other EU moves to open up the European market for online music.” Gist:

The European Commission said it was concerned that the groups’ contracts with composers — organized strictly along national lines — might violate rules on restrictive business practices and give national copyright agencies a de facto monopoly.

The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers — known as CISAC — and its member agencies in EU countries collect royalty payments from broadcasters, night clubs or Internet sites.

The EU said it wanted to look at the membership rules that give authors only one choice of collecting society to pick up payments — the one based in their own country.

This news comes on the heels of recent news that Eliot Spitzer is investigating the pricing of digital music downloads in the U.S.

Via BNA’s Internet Law News.

Update: Meanwhile, Spitzer’s probe of payola expands:

“A lot of the major songs have been implicated in this and it showed how pervasive the payola infrastructure had become,” Spitzer said in an interview yesterday.

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