updated 12:45 pm EDT, Thu July 3, 2008
European music royalties
The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance has come out against proposed changes to how online music royalties are collected, writes the Associated Press. The conflict stems from an ongoing investigation by the European Commission, aimed at addressing antitrust concerns relating to the lack of Europe-wide royalty schemes. The Commission notes that currently, national copyright agencies have effective monopolies in their respective regions; there is also a need to negotiate as many as 27 separate royalty schemes for an album, something which may be hampering the spread of European music.
The scheme also creates obstacles for companies like Apple, which has had to spawn separate iTunes Stores for each country in the European Union, even though all prices are in Euros.
The ECSA, however, is arguing that the Commission's suggested collective-rights system could actually result is less money being paid to artists, even as it would become easier to distribute records. Harmonization could also force many small- and medium-sized businesses out of the market, the ECSA says. This view has the backing of a number of celebrity members, including Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, and Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler.