Apple is mooting that Europe’s royalty collection agencies band together to form a single body
A lot of Americans tend to lump Europe as one single entity, much like the US, and don’t see the continent as a group of separate countries, with unique languages and cultures.
As if to enforce that notion, CE giant Apple has asked that a European-wide copyright be introduced so it can supposedly offer its iTunes service to eastern European countries.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs want to find a way to bringing all the fragmented IP licencing agreements under one banner.
From a purely administration point of view, this seems like a good idea, but what it would do is not give countries the right to have their own national exclusivity on composers’ rights.
Apple has asked that the EC to stop some European publishers from withdrawing their rights from some of the royalty collection societies , which happened recently. This makes it very hard for iTunes to sort out who to send royalty payments to, because the European system is so complex with so many different players involved.
Apple’s attempt is not helped by the fact that some European players, including EMI, think that competition amongst the varying societies is good. Why? Who knows. Surely the benefactors of iTunes – the artists – are the ones who need to benefit the most. So it should be up to them, how the fees are collected – or they should at least be consulted. Playing Devil’s Advocate, Apple just might ignore some territories altogether if it becomes to cumbersome or expensive to enter that market due to heavy admin costs.