The Court of Appeal of Barcelona confirms SGAE’s abuse of dominant position and its obligation to compensate UNISON for damages

The Court of Appeal of Barcelona has issued an important ruling confirming the abuse of dominant position by the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE) against UNISON RIGHTS OGI, S.L. (UNISON).

In its ruling of February 16, 2024, the Court of Appeal of Barcelona confirmed the first-instance judgment issued in July 2022, highlighting that SGAE employed anti-competitive practices to maintain its dominant position in the market for the management of intellectual property rights and to prevent the entry and development of new operators in the market. This decision is the culmination of a long legal process that originated from a sanctioning proceeding initiated in 2017 by the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) against SGAE.

The ruling of the Court of Appeal of Barcelona also recognizes UNISON’s right to be compensated for the damages resulting from SGAE’s anti-competitive actions. UNISON has initiated the procedures to calculate these damages and receive the compensation.

Over the past years, judicial and competition authorities have issued several rulings evidencing this conduct by SGAE and this is a further confirmation of Unison’s allegations. 

Jordi Puy, CEO of UNISON, stated: “This ruling marks a milestone in the defense of competition in the field of collective management both at the Spanish and European levels. It signifies the strong confirmation of our allegations and the acknowledgment of our right to be compensated for the serious damages caused to us by SGAE through its illegal practices.” He added: “This ruling also indicates that we are on the right path and reinforces us in our mission to improve the copyright management sector in our continent in favor of authors and other rights holders.”

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