10 July 2015

PRSfM, GEMA, STIM – European collecting societies JV cleared

On 16 June 2015, the European Commission approved a joint venture between PRSfM, STIM and GEMA, subject to behavioural commitments, after a phase II investigation.The transaction involved collecting societies for music copyrights in each of the UK, Sweden and Germany.  The Commission investigated whether the combination of the repertoires of PRSfM, STIM and GEMA into a single licence would allow it to charge higher royalty rates.  Based on analyses of contractual terms agreed between each party and online platforms pre-transaction, information provided by market participants and the parties’ internal documentary evidence, the Commission found that collecting societies licensing larger repertoires were typically not able to command higher royalty rates than those with smaller repertoires, and so concluded that the creation of the joint venture was unlikely to lead to higher royalty rates for online platforms.The Commission raised concerns that the creation of the joint venture would make it more difficult for other collecting societies to compete in offering copyright administration services to Option 3 music publishers.  The parties ultimately agreed behavioural commitments aimed at reducing the barriers to customers switching between alternative service providers, and maintaining the access of other collecting societies and their customers to particular rights and services.RBB worked alongside the internal teams of each of the parties, and their external legal advisors, Gleiss Lutz.For more information, please see here.

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