Europe moves to regulate music download licenses

Written by Wil Harris

October 12, 2005 | 17:39

Tags: #download #industry #itunes #music

Companies: #apple #eu #europe

Fed up of the arbitary boundaries between the different countries where the iTunes Music Store can be accessed? Annoyed that there's not a wider choice of music, or music services? The much-maligned EU may be coming to the rescue of our Community neighbours.

Brett Dunsmore writes:

"In a move prompted by the increase in music downloads via the internet, the European Commission today made a recommendation to the music industry that it should adopt Europe-wide copyright licences, rather than the current method of each individual country issuing a licence per song.

The current situation curtails many smaller companies, who offer on-demand music downloads, from competing with the likes of Apples iTunes service - the cost of obtaining a licence from each of the 25 EU members can be as much as 475,000 Euros per song. This has created a situation where potential customers from some member Nations have a smaller choice of music to download, because smaller companies can't compete with Apple.

Apple's iTunes service currently holds around a 75% share of the on-demand music download business, a majority in anyone’s eyes. The proposal by the EU would certainly go some way to increasing competition and would result in a wider choice of legal music downloads being made available to European music fans.

Will a reduction in licensing cost lead to a price drop in music downloads? This reader has his doubts, but greater competition and choice is something I do welcome.

If you're a masochistic type, you can check out the details on the European Union On-Line."

Good thing? Bad thing? Great for competition, or just the EU meddling again? Let us know your thoughts in the Forum.
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