Copyright: cross-border licences for online music services 

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With licenses covering more than one member state, service providers should find it easier to stream music services across the EU.©BELGA/EASYPHOTOSTOCK/L.DOLGACHOV  

New rules on music copyright approved by Parliament on Tuesday aim to make it easier for online providers to get licences to stream music in more than one EU country. The law, already informally agreed with Council, should stimulate the development of EU-wide online music services for consumers and ensure that artists' rights are better protected and that they receive adequate royalties promptly

“The directive will effectively protect the interests of European creators and make it possible for end users to have access to copyright-protected content throughout Europe," said the rapporteur, Marielle Gallo (EPP, FR). “This directive is a clear signal that copyright can be easily adapted to the Internet. Copyright has an essential role to play in the digital economy,” she added.

Cross-border licenses for EU-wide online music services

Under the new rules, online music service providers in the EU will be able to obtain licenses from collective management organisations representing authors' rights across borders. With licenses covering more than one member state, service providers should find it easier to stream music services across the EU.

Preserving cultural diversity

To ensure that the creators of music in all member states have access to licences covering more than one country and to preserve cultural diversity, collective management organisations that do not themselves issue copyright licences for more than one country will be able to request another organisation to represent their repertoire. Under certain conditions, those organisations would be obliged to do so.

Thanks to MEPs, collective management organisations will have to manage the repertoire they represent under the same conditions that they apply to their own repertoires.

Timely and appropriate remuneration for artists

All collective management organisations will be required to ensure that artists receive appropriate remuneration for the use of their rights in good time. In general, the royalties will have to be distributed to artists as quickly as possible, and no later than nine months from the end of the financial year in which the rights revenue was collected.

Rightholders will also have a say in the decisions on the management of their rights and the freedom to select the collective management organization of their choice. To ensure that rightholders’ rights are properly managed, collective management organisations will also have to comply with transparency and reporting requirements as well as minimum rules on governance and on the collection and use of revenues.

Next steps

The directive. approved by 640 votes to 18, with 22 abstentions, still has to be formally approved by the Council. After that, EU member countries will have 24 months to incorporate the directive into national law.