[JURIST] British music royalty collection society MCPS-PRS Alliance [corporate website] on Friday challenged a European Commission (EC) antitrust [backgrounder] decision limiting the control such organizations have over copyright use agreements. In July, the EC ruled [press release; FAQ] the current exclusivity deals the single-country societies had were effectively domestic monopolies in violation of Article 81 of the European Commission Treaty and Article 53 of the European Economic Area Agreement [text downloads, PDF]. The EC made the ruling after a challenge to the deals brought by radio broadcasting company RTL Group [corporate website], in which it sought the ability to make multinational use agreements with a single rights holder. The Financial Times has more.
In January, the EC dropped an antitrust case [press release; JURIST report] against Apple's iTunes [JURIST news archive] after Apple announced it would equalize music download prices across Europe [press release]. A UK consumer protection organization had filed a formal complaint with the Commission, which launched an investigation [press release; JURIST report] in April 2007 into whether sales restrictions based on the buyer's country of residence violated EU antitrust laws. Apple [corporate website] blamed the disparity on copyright holders charging more at the wholesale level in the UK than other countries.