Monopolizing Music

Monopolizing Music

Italian song rights collecting organization, SIAE has been ordered to seek out and resolve monopoly-related issues by Italy’s Competition Authority to end market distortion tactics.


Collective licensing (where music rights owners license as one through a collecting society) always raises monopoly concerns. How those monopoly concerns are dealt with by copyright or competition law varies hugely from country to country. In the U.S., the 2 largest rights holders: BMI and ASCAP are regulated, while in the UK collective licensing is subject to the intervention of the copyright tribunal. In most European countries, however, regulation of licensing has traditionally been much less formal and severe.

The European Union has sought to make the European collecting societies more competitive, both in terms of recruiting members and licensing rights. Responding to those moves within the EU, Italy changed its laws last year to encourage more competition in the licensing market. This has created a dispute between SIAE and two newer licensing organizations called Soundreef and Innovaetica.

SIAE is charged with having used tactics to prohibit songwriters to choose additional organizations to represent them. Because of this, the ICA has demanded that the SIAE not only immediately comply but also pay a fine of 1000 euros.

SIAE has responded by stating that it would evaluate the Competition Authority’s order until they are confident that the organization was compliant with the laws in place despite the regulator’s demands.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about how the Italian Competition Authority is keeping SIAE from Monopolizing Music! Do you think this course of action will help aid Italian musicians in finding a royalty collector that works for them? Join the conversation below!