Recording industry offers international internet licensing to broadcasters
24-country agreement offers one-stop licence for "simulcasting"
London, 11 September 2001 - Broadcasters are to be offered international licences to transmit music over the Internet under a landmark system of agreements announced by the recording industry today.
Under a new system of reciprocal agreements between many of the music industry's revenue-collecting bodies, traditional broadcasters will for the first time be able to transmit their terrestrial programmes simultaneously on the Internet on the basis of a single license from record labels that will be recognized internationally.
The new system means that collecting societies representing record producers and other right holders, who before could license traditional broadcasting only within national borders, can now license "simulcasting" in more than 20 countries across the world. The number of countries is expected eventually to exceed 30.
Simulcasting is an increasingly popular form of transmission over the Internet. There are estimated be some 5,000 simulcasters worldwide, up from only 750 three years ago. Until now, broadcasters wishing to simulcast their terrestrial signal over the internet have had to obtain licences for transmission of their simulcast on a country-by-country basis.
Reciprocal agreements have been signed by collecting societies in 24 countries. They set up a one-stop shop approach for licensing which has been implemented for an experimental period of one year and runs to 31 May 2002.
The system, which has been reviewed by and given an initial favourable response by the European Commission, is an important first step towards creating a thriving legitimate on-line music market. The arrangements were notified to Brussels in November 2000. In August 2001 the Commission said it intends to take a "favorable view" of the Reciprocal Agreement, subject to comments from third parties.
The system has been developed by IFPI, the trade organisation of the international recording industry, which represents more than 1400 record companies worldwide, including majors and independents.
Jay Berman, Chairman and CEO of IFPI, said "This is a significant first step towards tackling the difficult issue of global licensing for music on the Internet. It is a proactive step showing that the recording industry is determined to embrace the internet as a way of reaching music fans across the world".
Jorgen Larsen, Chairman of Universal Music International and a member of IFPI's Board of Directors, said: "This system allows broadcasters to obtain a single international licence from one source for the entire repertoire of Universal Music or other record companies, large and small. It is strong evidence of a commitment on the part of Universal and other producers to facilitate the licensing of their music for use on the Internet".
Mark Krendel, new media manager at Zomba, the world's largest independent record company, said: "Any independent record company that wants to develop a future market for its music online will welcome this first step towards licensing repertoire on the Internet. Zomba is committed to taking advantage of all the exciting possibilities of the Internet, so we warmly welcome this initiative".
Dr Nils Bortloff, Head of Licencing and E-Commerce for IFPI, said: "This system is a win-win situation for both broadcasters and record companies. Broadcasters will be able to expand their audience and market beyond their national border, while record companies will get the protection they need to make their recordings available for simulcasting on the Internet".
The following countries already have signed the reciprocal agreements: Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, UK, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Africa, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.
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