EC publishes plan to boost online music licensing

The European Commission published plans to make it easier for online music services to license media content across the European Union's 25 member states.

The European Commission has published plans to make it easier for online music services to license media content across the 25 member states of the European Union.

The aim of the recommendation approved by the Commission is to break the current monopoly that licensing agencies like collective rights management societies have in their domestic markets. Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, whose department drafted the recommendation, said Wednesday that he wanted to "foster a climate where EU-wide licenses are more readily available for legitimate online music service providers." The move would help new European-based online services take off, he said.

As well as helping online service providers, McCreevy said that move would also benefit content creators and rights holders because it would give them greater freedom of choice to use the most competitive licensing agency to market their products. It would maintain the value of copyrighted works so that content is "not available on the cheap," he said.

However, some of the online media sector's main players have criticized the legislative instrument selected by the Commissioner. With a recommendation, member states decide how to incorporate the Commission's proposed general principles into national legislation. Other more binding forms of legal instrument such as a directive or regulation would restrict countries' ability to preserve the current dominance of the licensing agencies and collecting societies on their territories.

Luc Delany, a director at the European Digital Media Association (EDIMA), said: "We're very disappointed with what the Commission has produced, both in terms of the nature of the instrument and the content of the document. Being a recommendation has far less reaching implications from substantial legislation point of view and the content is not as robust as possible."

EDIMA's members include companies such as, Apple Computer, MovieSystem, RealNetworks and Internet service providers such as Wanadoo and Tiscali.

But McCreevy said that he would closely monitor the online media market's development. "If I am not satisfied that sufficient progress is being made, I will take tougher action."

According to the Commission, the market for downloaded music is expected to reach US$660 million in 2005, double its value in 2004. It also quoted analysts saying that digital music sales could reach 25 percent of record company revenues in five years' time.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Simon Taylor

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?