- 5 April 2023 10:08
The Antitrust Authority chaired by Rustichelli wants to understand if the company of Mark Zuckerberg may have interrupted negotiations by abusing the economic dependence of Siae. Together with the preliminary investigation also initiated the precautionary procedure. All details with the position of Meta
To the clash between Meta and Siae is added a piece, actually called, given the statements made by the Italian Society authors and publishers in the Commission to the Chamber. The Italian Competition and Market Authority has in fact launched an investigation against Meta to ascertain whether the allegations of abuse of economic dependence in the negotiation with Siae of the conclusion of the license of use, on its own platforms, of music rights.
In short, taking as a good thing that Meta may have really interrupted the negotiations for the renewal of the expired contract also eliminating the music content protected by Siae from their social platforms, it will be necessary to understand if this abandonment of the table there has been (the US company denies) that it was unduly paid and that the company was not provided with the information necessary to carry out the negotiations in full compliance with the principle of transparency and fairness.
META VS SIAE, WHAT ANTITRUST IS INVESTIGATING
We will investigate the possibility that Meta has abused the contractual imbalance of which it benefits by asking Siae to accept an inadequate economic offer, without providing the appropriate information to assess the actual congruity. Following the interruption of the negotiations, as is well known the company that manages Facebook and Instagram has removed from social platforms the music content protected by Siae so that they were no longer usable by users. The Authority considers that the alleged abuse of economic dependence could have a significant impact on the protection of competition in the affected markets and could cause serious harm to consumers.
Such conduct could not only significantly compress Siae’s competitive capacity in the affected markets, but also prevent authors representing - a significant part of those active in Italy - to reach the category of users, increasingly wide, which benefits from social platforms. Meta’s behaviour could also have repercussions on authors represented by other societies (collecting societies) and who are joint owners of the rights together with authors protected by Siae.
"To this must be added - communicate by the Authority chaired by Roberto Rustichelli - that the obstacle to access of music content on Meta platforms could have negative effects also for the remuneration of related rights of music producers and all the other legal positions protected under copyright law".
Moreover, these abusive practices could considerably limit the choice of consumers who would be deprived of the possibility to enjoy the works protected by Siae, an important component of the Italian and international musical offer.
THE PROTECTIVE MEASURES PROCEDURE
At the same time as the investigation, the Antitrust Authority also initiated proceedings to adopt any precautionary measures pursuant to art. 14-bis of the law n. 287/1990: the interruption of the negotiation between Meta and Siae, in fact, could immediately affect the competitive dynamics between the various subjects that make up the supply chain of the markets of the intermediation of the copyright of the musical works. Hence the need for a precautionary intervention that guarantees the reactivation of a negotiation process between Meta and Siae in compliance with the principles of good faith, transparency and equity.
THE REPLICA OF THE US GIANT
The predictable Meta communiqué: "We are ready to work together to respond to the requests of the Competition and Market Authority. Protecting the copyright of authors and artists is an absolute priority for us, so we remain committed to reaching an agreement with Siae that satisfies all parties".
Meanwhile, Thursday, April 6, Meta and Siae are expected at the Department of Culture that will try to pacify between the two litigants: given the premises and the intervention of the Antitrust, the road could be uphill.