EU seeks comment on loosening copyright rules

BRUSSELS Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:50am BST

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Authors and composers have until July 9 to comment on proposed new EU rules loosening restrictive territorial contracts for copyright registration on the Internet, satellite and cable retransmission of music.

The European Commission charged the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) in February 2006 with imposing anti-competitive territorial restrictions on authors and composers.

The restrictions concerned only material sent by the Internet, satellite or cable, the EU executive said.

CISAC offers a model contract used by 18 collecting societies in the 30-member European Economic Area (EEA), including the 27 European Union countries, the Commission said.

CISAC has proposed changing the contract, which covers 95 percent of copyright licensing in the EEA, to respond to the Commission's charges.

"The new contract lifts the membership restrictions and the exclusivity clause, according to which reciprocal representation is done on an exclusive basis for the respective territory of the collecting societies," the Commission said.

CISAC has proposed permitting authors and composers to transfer their rights to any collecting society, not just the one in their own country.

The confederation also said new wording would lift territorial restrictions which require commercial users to buy licenses for use only in the area covered by their local collecting society.

The Commission said those interested should comment on the proposals by July 9 so it could decide whether to accept them.

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