SIAE is the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers that manages the rights of the enrolled artists and cashes for them the income in case of concerts and music distribution on radio or in bars.
Artists often do not tolerate well the monopoly of SIAE in the management of their rights and they asked many times to freely manage and choose their own representive without being force to pass though SIAE.
The Directive 2014/26/EU, called Barnier Directive, met this need and expressly stated that
collective management of copyright and related rights should entail a rightholder being able freely to choose a collective management organisation for the management of his rights,
the only condition is that such organisation already managed these rights.
In practice, the directive allows artists to freely choose any society of rights management already existing in Europe and in other countries removing the obligation to resort to the SIAE.
Italy approved the directive by legislative decree no. 35 of 15 March 2017 thus also Italian artists could have their rights managed by foreign societies.
However, there is a “but”. In spite of the above, the Italian law has decided that the SIAE should be the only society that can collect the rights.
This is how we came to the case.
Fedez decided to have his rights managed by the English society Soundreef.
No problems so far apart from the fact that the rights coming from his concerts are collected by SIAE, acting as a mediator, that then deposits them to Soundreef which gives them to the artist.
Soundreef did not agree with this passage which tried to force it by asking to the organizer of the concert to deposit the rights directly to them and not to the SIAE. But they evidently received a negative answer.
In order to obtain this result the English society asked for and obtained the issue of a cease and desist order marking an important point.
This cease and desist order actually represents only the beginning of what could become a pitched battle.
This cease and desist order could be followed by an opposition and by an ordinary proceeding in front of the Court that will examine the question in light of the principles expressed at the Community level.
A referral to the Court of Justice cannot be excluded.
Rather, according to rumors the European Commission is taking into consideration an infringement procedure against Italy and the Antitrust is dealing with the Italian choice to maintain the SIAE monopoly in the collection of rights.