Barcelona, December 23, 2019 – The Commercial Court No. 3 of Barcelona grants the interim measures requested by UNISON and forces SGAE to allow authors and publishers to withdraw their repertoire and works from their catalogues without limitations
By means of the interim measures, UNISON requested that the consequences of the Spanish Competition Authority (so-called “CNMC”) resolution to be applied as a matter of urgency, compelling SGAE to allow the owners to withdraw their rights from the society in accordance with the Spanish Competition Authority previous resolution, Directive 2014/26/EU and the recent reforms of the Intellectual Property Act.
In its resolution of December 20, 2019, Barcelona Commercial Court No. 3 upheld the urgent measures requested by UNISON, on the understanding that, despite the CNMC’s resolution, acts of abuse of dominant position and unfair competition by SGAE continue to occur in the marketplace.
Transposed into practice, the decision means that, until the main proceedings are resolved, SGAE must allow its members to withdraw their rights without unnecessary and unjustified restrictions, including the right to withdraw repertoire and works in a segmented or individualized manner. In line with the foregoing, the decision requires SGAE to withdraw the corresponding clauses from its model management contract.
Jordi Puy, spokesman for UNISON, said he was “satisfied that the resolution comes at the right time, since the rights holders who had requested the total or partial withdrawal of their repertoire from SGAE had done so with effect from 31 December 2019″ and because it is “another step in demonstrating that the monopoly on the management of music rights is history”.
The court procedure was initiated at the request of UNISON, a private music rights management entity, established as an IME (Independent Management Entity) under the EU Directive 2014/26/EU of 26 February 2014 and its recent implementation in the Intellectual Property Act. The referred rules establish the end of the legal monopoly of traditional non-profit collecting societies, allowing the management of rights by commercial entities.
In 2016 UNISON filed a complaint before the National Market and Competition Commission (CNMC) against SGAE, highlighting a number of facts and circumstances that could prevent or hinder UNISON’s entry and development of business in this market. These proceedings were terminated by a decision of the CNMC of 30 May 2019, which declared that SGAE had acted with abuse of a dominant position in the music rights collective management market and imposed a fine of EUR 2,949,660.