Latest Special issue: Collecting societies

Anticompetitive practices

The Spanish Competition Authority fines two IP rights collecting societies for abuse of dominance (AGEDI / AIE RADIO)
European Commission (Brussels)
CNMC fines two intellectual property rights collecting societies* The Spanish Competition Authority, CNMC (National Commission for Markets and Competition), sanctioned two intellectual property rights collecting societies for abusing their dominant position on the management of intellectual (...)

The US DoJ opens a review of the consent decrees and expects comments on the competitive concerns that arise from the joint licensing in the music industry (ASCAP / BMI)
Sheppard Mullin (New York)
Department of Justice Opens Review of ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees* The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice announced in June 2014 that it has opened a review of the 73-year-old ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees. In its press release, the DOJ noted that it is most interested in (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority releases a report concerning the lack of uniformity among authorities in licensing and supervision practices
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
FCCA: Lack of uniformity in licensing and supervision practices hurt the ability of companies to operate on the market* The lack of uniformity among authorities in licensing and supervision practices make it more difficult for companies to enter the field and expand their operations, according (...)

The EU General Court partially annuls a Commission decision on anti-competitive conduct among copyright collecting societies (CISAC)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 April 2013, the EU General Court (GC) handed down its judgments in the appeals brought by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and 21 of its member collecting society associations against an earlier decision of the European Commission finding (...)

The Stockholm District Court of Appeal holds that an agreement whereby authors have entrusted the administration of their literary works to a collecting society constitutes the basis of an unlawful cooperation and thus is null and void (Mediearkivet)
Vinge (Stockholm)
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Cosmetics Europe (Brussels)
Introduction In two cases concerning the administration by a collecting society of literary works, the Stockholm District Court and, on appeal, the Court of Appeal, examined the agreements whereby authors had entrusted the administration of their literary works to a collecting society. It was (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses appeal against rejection of complaint with respect to collective management of copyright for musical works in Greece (AEPI)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 April 2009, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) dismissed the appeal brought by AEPI against a judgment of the Court of First Instance (“CFI”) upholding the Commission’s decision to reject a complaint lodged by AEPI, a Greek entity in charge of collective management of intellectual property (...)

The EU Court of Justice Advocate General Mengozzi recommends annulment of CFI’s judgment in the collective management of copyright sector (AEPI)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Advocate General (AG) Mengozzi has recently delivered two interesting opinions in the field of competition law enforcement. On appeal in the AEPIand Archer Daniels Midlandcases, he advised the Court of Justice to quash the judgments of the Court of First Instance (CFI). He further recommended (...)

The Mannheim Regional Court holds that reciprocal representation agreements concluded between national collecting societies are not void (GEMA / BUMA / STEMRA)
Gleiss Lutz (Munich)
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Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (Munich)
On 7 November 2008, the Regional Court of Mannheim issued a decision on the validity of territorial limitations contained in reciprocal representation agreements concluded between national collecting societies. The case concerned the question whether a national collecting society was entitled (...)

The Haarlem District Court rules on a dispute between the Dutch collecting society and the UK collecting society regarding the licensing of portfolio (BUMA / PRS)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment dated 19 August 2008 (published only recently), the District Court of Haarlem in the Netherlands ruled on a dispute between the Dutch collecting society BUMA (“BUMA”) and the UK collecting society Performing Right Society Limited (“PRS”), regarding the licensing by BUMA of PRS‘ (...)

The EU Commission prohibits collecting societies from restricting competition into the conditions for the management and licensing of authors’ public performance rights for musical works (CISAC)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"The CISAC decision - creating competition between collecting societies for music rights"* I. Introduction On 16 July 2008 the European Commission adopted a decision prohibiting 24 European collecting societies from restricting competition as regards the conditions for the management and (...)

The EU Commission exempts a standard agreement entered into by a number of copyright administration societies from Europe, South America, Asia and New Zealand (IFPI Simulcasting)
DLA Piper (Lisbon)
"From discothèques to websites, a new approach to music copyright licensing: the Simulcasting decision"* On 8 October 2002 the Commission adopted a decision in case COMP/C2/38.014 IFPI Simulcasting exempting a standard agreement entered into by a number of copyright administration societies (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Czech Competition Authority fines the collective rights management organisation for abuse of a dominant position (OSA) New
Bird & Bird (Czech Republic)
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Bird & Bird (Czech Republic)
In a first-instance decision, the Office for the Protection of Competition ("Office") imposed a fine amounting to CZK 10,676,000 on the collective rights management organisation, Ochranný svaz autorský pro práva k dílům hudebním ("OSA"), for an abuse of a dominant position. The decision has been (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines a company for abuse of dominant position in the management and exploitation of intellectual property rights of authors and publishers of musical and audiovisual works (SGAE)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The NMCC has fined the Spanish Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SGAE) €2.95 million for abusing its dominant position in the management and exploitation of intellectual property rights of authors and publishers of musical and audiovisual works (Articles 2 SCA and 102 TFEU). The (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines a collecting company for abuse of dominant position in the management and exploitation of IP rights (SGAE)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The CNMC has fined SGAE (“Sociedad General de Autores y Editores”) with EUR 2.95 million for abusing its dominant position in the market of management and exploitation of musical and audio-visual intellectual property rights. The CNMC investigation started in 2017, following several complaints. (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal asks the EU Commission to provide advice and information regarding the tariffs for concerts and music festivals of a copyright collecting society (SABAM)
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
On 10 May 2019, by interim judgment, the Brussels Court of Appeal asked the European Commission to provide advice and information regarding the tariffs for concerts and music festivals of SABAM – the Belgian copyright collecting society – in light of the prohibition to abuse a dominant position (...)

The Brussels Commercial Court’s President rules that a collecting society abuses its dominant position through its pricing practice (SABAM)
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
Since 2017 , SABAM increased its tariffs for concerts and music festivals to 17% for average-sized festivals and 37% for large festivals, with the pricing for small festivals remaining the same. As a result, several festivals and the federation of Flemish music festivals sued SABAM. The (...)

The EU Court of Justice accepts an alternative to the United Brands test to establish excessive pricing (AKKA / LAA)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
On replying to the preliminary questions referred by the Supreme Court of Latvia (SCL), in AKKA v LAA the CJEU has accepted a methodology other than the two-limb United Brands test to establish an excessive pricing practice. The CJEU also clarifies the criteria to set the amount of the fine (...)

The Italian Competition Authority accepts commitments from an Italian collecting society in abuse of dominance investigation (Nuovoimaie)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 March 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) accepted commitments from the copyright-collecting society NUOVOIMAIE (“NI”) aimed at addressing ICA’s concerns that NI had abused its dominant position on the Italian market for management and intermediation services in the audio-visual (...)

The Ljubljana Court of Appeal annuls a decision in relation to minor offence proceedings against a collecting society (SAZAS)
Fatur Law Firm (Ljubljana)
Introduction In SAZAS case, the Slovenian Competition Protection Office (hereinafter referred to as the CPO) adopted a partial administrative decision in April 2011 (Case 306-35/2009-108), finding that Združenje skladateljev, avtorjev in založnikov za zaščito avtorskih pravic Slovenije (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines an IP rights collecting society for abuse of dominance (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores)
European Commission (Brussels)
CNMC Fines IP Rights Collecting Society for Abuse of Dominant Position* On 14 November 2014, the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) imposed a fine of € 3 103 196 on Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE) for abusive practices concerning the management of (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority issues report on collective management organisations and the promotion of healthy competition in the market of the copyrighted works (Teosto / Gramex / Kopiosto / Tuotos)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority: Numerous problems on the copyright market* The ambiguity of the legislation and the complexity of the market serve to fortify the monopoly of the collective management organisations on the market, says the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (...)

The Australian Competition Authority authorises for the second time arrangements for the acquisition and licensing of performing rights in music, subject to certain conditions (APRA)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC requires improved dispute resolution in performing rights arrangements* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has reauthorised the Australasian Performing Right Association’s (APRA) arrangements for the acquisition and licensing of performing rights in music, subject to (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority receives commitment following an investigation into possible abuse of dominance in the music copyright sector (Buma / Stemra)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Buma/Stemra promises ACM to offer more options in music copyright management* Dutch copyright collecting society Buma/Stemra will offer composers and songwriters more options in the management of their music copyrights. This has been laid down in a commitment Buma/Stemra made to the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority proposes to allow the national music copyright collection society to continue its arrangement for the acquisition and licensing of performing rights subject to a range of conditions (APRA)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC proposes changes to performing rights arrangement* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission proposes to allow the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) to continue its arrangements for the acquisition and licensing of performing rights in music subject to a range of (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines collecting society due to an abuse of dominant position in relation to the management of intellectual property rights for musical videos played on jukeboxes (Asociación de Gestión de Derechos Intelectuales)
European Commission (Brussels)
Spain: The Comisión Nacional de la Competencia fines Collecting Society AGEDI concerning Management of IPR for Use of Musical Videos on Jukebox* By decision of 26 August 2013, the Comisión Nacional de la Competencia (CNC) Council fined Asociación de Gestión de Derechos Intelectuales (AGEDI) € 51 (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority fines a collective copyright management association for excessive pricing (AKKA / LAA)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
The CC fines collective copyright management association for excessive pricing* On 2 April the Competition Council of Latvia (CC) adopted a decision to fine the collective copyright management association AKKA/LAA for abuse of dominant position. Royalty tariffs for music airplay in retail (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines an IP rights collecting society for abuse of dominant position (SGAE)
European Commission (Brussels)
Spain: The Comisión Nacional de la Competencia fines Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE) for Abuse of Dominant Position* In its Resolution of 3 July 2012, the Council of the Comisión Nacional de la Competencia (CNC) decided that SGAE (IP rights collecting society) had abused its (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines copyright collecting societies for abusing of their dominant position (AGEDI / AIE)
European Commission (Brussels)
Spain: The Comisión Nacional de la Competencia fines Copyright Collecting Societies AGEDI and AIE* In its Resolution of 14 June 2012, the Comisión Nacional de la Competencia (CNC) Council declared that the Asociación de Gestión de Derechos Intelectuales (AGEDI) and Artistas, Intérpretes y (...)

The Croatian High Administrative Court upholds the NCA’s decision concerning the abuse of dominance in collection of royalties (Croatian Composers’ Society)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 7 March 2012 the Croatian High Administrative Court (VUS) upheld the infringement decision of the Croatian Competition Authority (AZTN) issued against the Croatian Composers’ Society (HDS-ZAMP) for abusing its dominant position on the market for collection of royalties for copyrighted music (...)

The Spanish NCC imposes a fine for abuse of dominance on an IPs’ collecting society charging unfair and discriminatory prices on TV broadcaster (Artistas Intérpretes o Ejecutantes)
European Commission (Brussels)
Spain: The CNC’ Council fines AIE, Intellectual Property Rights’ Collecting Society* On 23 February 2011, the Council of the National Competition Commission (CNC) imposed a fine of € 532 686 on Artistas Intérpretes o jecutantes, Sociedad de Gestión de España (AIE) for an infringement of Article 2 (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority finds no abuse of dominance in the royalty collecting mechanism applied by the national collecting society for copyrighted music (Croatian Composers’ Society)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 16 December 2010 the Croatian Competition Authority (AZTN) completed its investigation into the royalties collecting mechanism administered by the national collecting society for copyrighted music – the Croatian Composers’ Society (HDS-ZAMP) and found no abuse of dominant position alleged by (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority issues a report on the management of IP rights by collecting societies and concludes that their monopolistic position facilitates the distortion of effective competition
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On January 19, 2010, the Spanish Competition Commission published a report on collective societies’ management of Intellectual Property Rights (“IP rights”) in Spain and concluded that Spanish collecting societies enjoy a monopolistic position that reduces their incentives to operate efficiently, (...)

The Latvian Administrative Regional Court upholds the decision of the Competition Authority and confirms the abuse of dominant position committed by a collecting society (AKKA / LAA)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
Court Upholds the Decision on Abuse of Dominant Position by Collective Copyright Management Association* With the decision of 11 December 2009 the Administrative Regional Court rejected a claim of the Collective Copyright Management Association AKKA/LAA against the 1 December 2008 decision of (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines the Spanish copyright collecting society for abusive practices (AIE)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute (New York)
On 23 July 2009, the Spanish Competition Authority fined AIE, the Spanish collecting society for music artists, for abusive practices in the period since 1995, in breach of Article 82 EC and the equivalent Spanish provision. The decision followed from a complaint by Telecinco, a Spanish (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines collecting societies for the second time in two years for abuse of dominance in their management of intellectual property rights (Fonogramas)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On 9th December 2008, the Spanish Competition Commission (“CNC”) issued a decision, establishing that the Association for the Management of Intellectual Property Rights (AGEDI) and the Management Society of Artists, Interpreters or Performers (AIE) had abused their dominant position in the market (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines music industry collecting societies for discriminatory pricing (Fonogramas)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute (New York)
On 9 December 2008, the Spanish Competition Authority adopted a decision fining the two Spanish collecting societies in the music industry, AGEDI (representing music producers) and AIE (representing artists), for discriminatory pricing in breach of Article 82 EC and the equivalent provision of (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority imposes a penalty on national collective copyright management association for abuse of dominance (AKKA / LAA)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
The Competition Council Imposes Penalty on AKKA/LAA for Abuse of Dominant Position* On 1 December 2008 the Competition Council of Latvia (CC) has adopted decision on Latvian collective copyright management association AKKA/LAA (“Copyright and Communication Consulting Agency/Latvian Authors (...)

The EU Court of Justice Advocate General Trstenjak delivers opinion on remuneration model applied by a Swedish copyright collecting society (Kanal 5 / TV 4 / STIM)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute (New York)
On 11 September 2008, Advocate General Trstenjak delivered her opinion on four questions referred to the ECJ by the Swedish Market Court. The questions arose in a dispute between two commercial TV channels, TV 4 and Kanal 5 (the “TV channels”) and the Swedish copyright collecting society Stim. (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes a financial penalty on an authors’ association for a late compliance with a previous cease and desist order (ZAiKS)
French National Research Agency - ANR (Paris)
Article 107 of the Act of 16 February 2007 on Competition and Consumer Protection (hereafter: the ACCP) provides, inter alia, that the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereafter : the OCCP President) may impose on undertakings a financial penalty equivalent up to (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority clears a collective performance rights organisation of allegations of price discrimination and excessive pricing (Fresh FM / Buma)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Introduction On the 16 January 2003, the commercial regional radio station Fresh FM submitted a complaint to the Dutch Competition Authority, the Nma, regarding the tariffs charged by Buma, the Dutch collective performance rights organization, to its clients. Fresh FM accused Buma of abusing (...)

The Polish Supreme Court confirms that the authors’ association falls within the scope of national competition law provisions (ZaiKS)
French National Research Agency - ANR (Paris)
The Authors’ Association ZaiKS (hereafter: ZAiKS) is the biggest and the oldest music collecting management organization in Poland and a member of CISAC, i.e. the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers. While at the EC level the EC Commission has condemned the use of (...)

The Polish Competition Authority conducts antitrust proceedings against the Polish authors’ association in order to stop alleged monopolist practices (ZAiKS)
Kochanski & Partners (Warsaw)
Background For several years now, the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection is carefully monitoring the practices of the copyright protection organizations and, as a result, there are few cases pending nowadays related to the competition protection within the copyright market. (...)

The Swedish Market Court makes a preliminary reference to the EU Court of Justice on copyright management by collecting societies (Kanal 5 / TV 4 / STIM)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
Introduction Since Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, the Swedish courts have been reluctant to make preliminary references to the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) in all fields of law. Up until 2006, the Swedish courts had made on average 5 preliminary references per year, in (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority establishes that a collecting society has abused its dominant position by discriminating two TV operators but rejects plaintiffs’ claims that prices were excessive (Televisiones)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The Spanish Intellectual Property law has been modified over time. The law that currently regulates Intellectual Property dates from 1996 and compiles all the applicable legislation on this matter. This law, called Texto Refundido de la Ley de Propiedad Intelectual (from now on TRLPI) has (...)

The Madrid Commercial Court establishes that a collecting society did not abuse its dominant position by refusing to provide special rates to a pay-TV digital platform (Canal Satélite Digital / DTS / SGAE)
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
Canal Satélite Digital, SL (hereinafter, “CSD”), the only pay-TV digital platform currently operating in Spain, and DTS Distribuidora de TV Digital (“DTS”) (together, the “Complainants”) lodged a claim against the collecting society Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (“SGAE“) for an alleged (...)

The Madrid Commercial Court clears the main national collecting society’s pricing practice (Canal Satélite Digital / DTS / SGAE)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
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Garrigues (Brussels)
A Spanish commercial judge has made an interesting contribution to the series of cases under EC antitrust law concerning the pricing practices of national copyright-management societies (hereinafter, “collecting societies”). The two applicants are digital TV platforms offering their clients (...)

The Madrid Commercial Court dismisses an application brought by a pay-TV against the Spanish copyright collecting society for breach of Art. 82 EC (Canal Satélite Digital / DTS / SGAE)
London School of Economics
Canal Satélite Digital, S.L. (hereinafter, “Canal Satélite”) y DTS Distribuidora de Televisión Digital, S.A. (“DTS”) are two Spanish companies whose main shareholder is Sogecable, the main pay-TV operator in Spain (which develop its pay-TV activities under the commercial name Digital+). Canal Satélite (...)

The Polish Competition Authority examines the abuse of dominance position of an authors’ association on the national music copyright collective management market (ZAiKS)
French National Research Agency - ANR (Paris)
On January 9th, 2006, the Competition and Consumer Protection Court (hereafter,“CCPC”) upheld the decision of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereafter, “OCCP President”) condemning ZAiKS Authors’ Association (hereafter, ZAiKS) for abusing its dominant position on (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal holds that the national copyright management society abused its dominant position while relying on an EU Commission written opinion delivered in the assistance procedure (SABAM / Productions & Marketing)
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP (Brussels)
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CaaStle (New York)
In April 2000, Productions & Marketing requested authorisation from SABAM (Belgian Society of Authors) to use works of its catalogue for five concerts. SABAM offers a preferential tariff (50% price reduction) to companies considered as "big organisers". SABAM refused to grant Productions (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeals rules that the major Belgian collecting society has abused its dominant position after having received an opinion from the EU Commission (SABAM / Productions & Marketing)
BECI (Brussels)
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Liège University
The Parties The case opposed the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SABAM) and Productions & Marketing (P&M), a company whose business activities consist of the organization of concerts and musical events. Background In 2000 and 2001, P&M organized Charles (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority considers that the Greek Society for the Protection of Intellectual Property has abused its dominant position on the market for the administration of the intellectual property rights of Greek and foreign composers (AEPI)
University College London
A number of Greek composers and the Association of Greek composers complained to the Hellenic Competition Commission (Competition Commission) that the Greek Society for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AEPI), a profit making organization of collective administration and distribution of (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission conditionally approves online rights licensing and administration joint venture between collective management organisations (PRSfM / STIM / GEMA)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 June 2015, the EU Commission conditionally approved the proposed joint venture between music collective management organisations PRS for music Limited (“PRSfm”) of the UK, Föreningen Svenska Tonsättares Internationella musikbyrå u.p.a. (“STIm”) of Sweden, and Gesellschaft für musikalische (...)

The EU Commission approves a joint venture for cross-border licensing of online music between three music collecting societies (PRSfM / STIM / GEMA)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Commission approves joint venture for cross-border licensing of online music between PRSfM, STIM and GEMA, subject to commitments* Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of a joint venture for (...)

The EU Commission conditionally approves a merger in the music publishing business addressing the issue of market power of music publishers in view of evolutions in digital music publishing (Universal / BMG)
European Commission (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"Universal / BMG: Market power of music publishers in view of evolutions in digital music publishing"* On 22 May 2007, the European Commission approved, subject to conditions, the acquisition by Universal Music Group Inc. (“Universal”) of BMG Music Publishing (“BMG”). Both companies are active in (...)

The EU Commission grants clearance subject to divestiture to a merger in the music publishing industry (BMG / Universal)
JG Associates (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger control: Main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2007"* In May the Commission approved the proposed acquisition of the music publishing business of Bertelsmann Music Group(BMG) of Germany by the US-based company Universal. The Commission found that the proposed merger, as (...)

Regulatory

The Canadian Telecom Regulator has an opportunity to effectively control online piracy based on a proposal from a coalition of telecom operators and rights holders (FairPlay Canada)
International Center for Law & Economics (Portland)
The Canadian Parliament Has an Opportunity to Effectively Control Online Piracy In an ideal world, it would not be necessary to block websites in order to combat piracy. But we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a world in which enormous amounts of content—from books and software to (...)

The EU Commission holds a roundtable on online music distribution and publishes a joint statement signed by key industry players
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 October 2009, the participants of a European Commission Roundtable on the online distribution of music signed a joint statement setting out general principles that aim to underpin the online distribution of music in the future. Participants in the Roundtable comprised Amazon, BEUC, EMI, (...)

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