Hardly in harmony: Gibb speech rips EC

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Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees opened Popkomm 2008 on Wednesday with a keynote speech in which he accused the European Commission of behaving in an "unhelpful and dogmatic fashion" in relation to its ruling on the "anti-competitive" practices of European performance rights societies.

Gibb is president of CISAC, an umbrella group that represents 222 authors' societies in 118 countries. His speech condemned the EC's ruling in July against 24 European collecting societies. CISAC has been told to remove all obstacles impeding a pan-European performing rights licensing system following a long-running battle with regulators; the EC described it as an anti-trust decision prohibiting societies from restricting competition.

"There is a perfectly good and practical reason that each bilateral reciprocal agreement has territorial restrictions," Gibb said. "It has nothing whatsoever to do with concerted practices. It is at this point that the societies are pushed into competing by a 'race to the bottom' on royalty value. This would do incalculable harm to the writer community."

The three-day Popkomm event comprises an international music and entertainment business trade fair. (partialdiff)
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