Copyright music bodies permit global Net licenses

Five copyright societies met in Santiago, Chile, and signed a number of separate bilateral agreements in an attempt to simplify the licensing issues surrounding the public performance of music used online.

The group assembled at the CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) World Congress and set forth to ease some of the issues that have plagued music distribution over the Internet. US organisation BMI (Broadcast Music), Holland's BUMA, Germany's GEMA, the UK's PRS (The Performing Right Society Ltd.) and France's SACEM bodies entered into an agreement that permits each group to grant licenses for online music use on a global scale.

"The parties recognise that one transmission of music over the Internet may result in performances in multiple countries," said the group in a joint communique. "We realise that the extensive use of copyrighted music is not limited to territorial boundaries in the online world. We hope that others will agree that this is a necessary step to assure the legal performance of music online, and that many other societies will enter into such agreements."

The deals signed by the international organisations will include Web casting, streaming content, online music-on-demand and music that comes in the form of online video. The five members of the agreement said they will deliver a mechanism for the distribution of licensing fees to authors, composers and music publishers on a worldwide range.

The agreements became effective Tuesday and will extend until December 31, 2001.

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Ashlee Vance

PC World

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