Music publishers body ICMP/CIEM and authors and composers' group GESAC have joined forces to develop a new system to manage music copyrights online.

Music publishers body ICMP/CIEM and authors and composers' group GESAC have joined forces to develop a new system to manage music copyrights online.

The two groups on Tuesday (July 11) issued a joint declaration, their first step in a new cross-border licensing system.

The move is a response to the calls last October by the European Commission, the EU's executive, to set up a system of cross-border management of rights for legitimate e-music services. The Commission also called for basic rules on governance for off-and online and on management of online rights in music works.

The one-page declaration says membership in collective management societies, their boards of directors, and annual general meetings will be open to all music publishers. It says rights holders will be free to elect the collective management societies of their choice to manage their online rights and to change from one society to another.

The declaration adds that online categories will be split between interactive exploitations and non-interactive exploitations, thus forming two new categories. Each category will include the different rights required for the corresponding exploitations: mechanical and/or performing rights.

GESAC president Bernard Miyet said the declaration reflected concerns on how to respond to technological changes, but he hoped it would lead to new rules. ICMP/CIEM Chairman Jean-Manuel de Scarano said the move ushered in an era that would will benefit rights holders and users alike.

Last October, the Commission said artists and groups should require just one license to sell their music online in the EU's 25 member countries.

It called for the creation of a streamlined system to ensure music rights be cleared efficiently on an EU-wide basis so the European online market could catch up with that in the United States.