Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Press and Information

General Court of the European Union

PRESS RELEASE No 43/13

Luxembourg, 12 April 2013

Judgments in Case T-392/08 AEPI v Commission, Case T-398/08 Stowarzyszenie Autorów ZAiKS v Commission, Case T-401/08 Säveltäjäin Tekijänoikeustoimisto Teosto ry v Commission, Case T-410/08 GEMA v Commission, Case T- 411/08 Artisjus v Commission, Case T-413/08 SOZA v Commission, Case T-414/08 Autortiesību un komunicēšanās konsultāciju aģentūra/Latvijas Autoru apvienība v Commission, Case T-415/08 Irish Music Rights Organisation Ltd v Commission, Case T-416/08 Eesti Autorite Ühing v Commission, Case T-417/08 Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores v Commission, Case T-418/08 OSA v Commission, Case T-419/08 LATGA-A v Commission, Case T-420/08 SAZAS v Commission, Case T-421/08 Performing Right Society v Commission, Case T-422/08 SACEM v Commission, Case T-425/08 Koda v Commission, Case T-428/08 STEF v Commission, Case T-432/08 AKM v Commission, Case T-433/08 SIAE v Commission, Case T-434/08 Tono v Commission, Case T-442/08 CISAC v Commission, Case T-451/08 Stim v Commission

The General Court partially annuls the Commission decision finding anti-competitive conduct on the part of copyright collecting societies

The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) is a non-profit non-governmental organisation which represents, in over a hundred countries, collecting societies managing copyright relating to, inter alia, musical works.

The collecting societies acquire the management of those rights either by direct transfer from the authors or by transmission from another collecting society managing the same categories of rights in another country. They grant exploitation licences to commercial users, such as broadcasting undertakings or organisers of live shows. The prices of those licences are the source of the royalties that the authors receive, after the management expenses of those collecting societies have been deducted.

In 1936, CISAC drew up a model contract for reciprocal representation agreements between its members. That contract serves as a non-binding model for reciprocal representation agreements concluded between its members for the purposes of conferring licences covering public performance rights of musical works. Each collecting society agrees, reciprocally, to confer the rights over its repertoire to all of the other collecting societies for the purposes of their exploitation in the respective territories of those collecting societies. Because of the network created by all of those reciprocal representation agreements, each collecting society can propose a worldwide portfolio of musical works to commercial users, but only for use in its own territory.

In 2000, RTL lodged a complaint with the Commission against a member of CISAC concerning its refusal to grant it a Community-wide licence for its music broadcasting activities. In 2003, Music Choice Europe, which provides radio and television broadcasting services on the internet, lodged a second complaint against CISAC concerning its model contract.

By its decision of 16 July 20081, the Commission prohibited 24 European collecting societies2 from restricting competition, in particular by limiting their ability to offer their services to authors and commercial users outside their domestic territory. The Commission decision, which concerns solely the exploitation of copyright via the internet, satellite and cable retransmission, does not call into question the very existence of reciprocal representation agreements. It does, however, prohibit:

- membership clauses: clauses in the model contract which restrict authors’ ability to affiliate freely to the collecting society of their choice;

- exclusivity clauses: clauses in the model contract which have the effect of providing all collecting societies, in the territory in which they are established, with absolute territorial protection vis-à-vis other collecting societies as regards the grant of licences to commercial users;

- a concerted practice which was found to exist between the collecting societies and by which each collecting society limits, in the reciprocal representation agreements, the right to grant licences relating to its repertoire in the territory of another collecting society party to the agreement.

The Commission did not impose fines on the collecting societies but did require that they remove the clauses in question from the model contract and bring an end to the concerted practice.

Most of the collecting societies concerned and CISAC brought an action before the General Court of the European Union against the Commission’s decision.

By today’s judgments, the General Court annuls, for CISAC and for 20 of the collecting societies concerned, the Commission’s decision in respect of the finding of the concerted practice. In that respect, the General Court considers that the Commission has not provided sufficient evidence. The Commission, first, did not have documents proving the existence of concertation between the collecting societies as regards the territorial scope of the mandates which they grant each other and, secondly, did not render implausible the applicants’ explanation that the parallel conduct of the collecting societies at issue was not the result of concertation, but rather of the need to fight effectively against the unauthorised use of musical works.

The General Court rejected the applications in so far as they sought the annulment of the Commission decision in respect of the membership and exclusivity clauses.

As regards the Stim case, the General Court rejected all of the arguments put forward by that collecting society, which had not raised in sufficient time the issue of the lack of proof of the concerted practice.

Case No.

Collecting society

Nationality of the collecting society

Outcome

T-392/08

AEPI

Greece

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-398/08

ZAIKS

Poland

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-401/08

TEOSTO

Finland

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-410/08

GEMA

Germany

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-411/08

ARTISJUS

Hungary

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-413/08

SOZA

Slovakia

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-414/08

AKKA/LAA

Latvia

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-415/08

IMRO

Ireland

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-416/08

EAÜ

Estonia

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-417/08

SPA

Portugal

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-418/08

OSA

Czech Republic

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-419/08

LATGA-A

Lithuania

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-420/08

SAZAS

Slovenia

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-421/08

PRS

United Kingdom

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-422/08

SACEM

France

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-425/08

KODA

Denmark

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-428/08

STEF

Iceland

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-432/08

AKM

Austria

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-433/08

SIAE

Italy

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-434/08

TONO

Norway

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

T-451/08

STIM

Sweden

Action dismissed

T-442/08

CISAC

Partial annulment of the Commission decision (concerted practice)

Collecting societies which are not (or are no longer) applicants

T‑456/08

SGAE

Spain

(Action inadmissible because it was not lodged in time)3

SABAM

Belgium

No action

BUMA

Netherlands

No action

NOTE: An appeal, limited to points of law only, may be brought before the Court of Justice against the decision of the General Court within two months of notification of the decision.

NOTE: An action for annulment seeks the annulment of acts of the institutions of the European Union that are contrary to European Union law. The Member States, the European institutions and individuals may, under certain conditions, bring an action for annulment before the Court of Justice or the General Court. If the action is well founded, the act is annulled. The institution concerned must fill any legal vacuum created by the annulment of the act.

Unofficial document for media use, not binding on the General Court.

The full text of the judgment is published on the CURIA website on the day of delivery

Press contact: Christopher Fretwell (+352) 4303 3355

Pictures of the delivery of the Opinion are available from "Europe by Satellite" (+32) 2 2964106

1 :

Commission Decision relating to a proceeding under Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement (Case COMP/C2/38.698 – CISAC).

2 :

See the table below.

3 :

Order of the General Court in Case T-456/08 SGAE v Commission.


Side Bar