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Spain: CNMC fines copyright brokers for price discrimination

 |  December 15, 2015

Spanish competition regulators CNMC have set a 2.7 million euro fine on AGEDI and AIE, the country’s largest copyright brokers, over alleged Abuse of Dominance violations. Both companies are accused of devising an unequal remuneration system in their handling of music rights, with both groups charging higher rates to private radio stations for the same content, with lower rates offered to publicly owned broadcasters. The violations, spanning from 2006 to 2014, prompted CNMC to strike AGEDI with a 1.5 million euro fine, with smaller counterpart AIE earning a similar, 1.2 million sanction.

Both organizations are charged with applying different rates for broadcasters, depending on whether they’re public or private, or whether they belonged to the AERC, which represents almost all of Spain’s private broadcasters and reaches up to 80% of listeners. Private broadcasters who did not belong to the AERC would sometimes pay over 5 timers as much as their counterparts for music rights.

The CNMC’s ruling determined that the public broadcasters benefitted from effective subsidies, whose design and application lacked objectivity. This would have given them an unfair advantage over private competitors, prompting the regulator’s action.

Source: El País

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