When it's not hitting Microsoft with monster fines *chuckle* the EU is also winning our hearts and minds with its relentless attack on roaming call data and SMS charges and now it has taken down another biggie...
Country-by-country music licensing has now been prohibited after the practice was hit by a European Commission antitrust decision yesterday saying it was "limiting their ability to offer their services to authors and commercial users outside their domestic territory". In its place will come the much simpler and more sensible system of pan-European licensing - a much debated holy grail for end users - which should bring pricing equality and availability to all 24 member countries.
"This decision will benefit cultural diversity by encouraging collecting societies to offer composers and lyricists a better deal in terms of collecting the money to which they are entitled, " EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. "It will also facilitate the development of satellite, cable and internet broadcasting, giving listeners more choice and giving authors more potential revenue. However, the Commission has been careful to ensure that the benefits of the collective rights management system are not put into question in terms of levels of royalties for authors and available music repertoire."
The Commission opened the investigation initially following complaints from broadcasting group RTL and UK Internet music provider Music Online and while the full effects of this decision will take some months to be realised it represents a major step forward and huge reduction in red tape.
Now let's hope the same logic can be applied to the movie industry...
EU Judgement (PDF Warning)