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European broadcasters face antitrust move over music rights

The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) has filed an antitrust complaint with the European Union alleging that a raft of broadcasters are forcing composers to surrender music rights if they want to write for TV programmes.

The roster of broadcasters named include pan-European operator RTL, ITV and BSkyB in the UK, TF1 in France, ZDF and ARD in Germany and Rai in Italy. Several production companies are also named. They are collectively accused by ECSA, which represents 12,000 composers and songwriters, of using “coercive commissioning” to acquire composers’ rights.