The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers has rebutted claims from the European Commission that it is operating a de facto monopoly for European collecting societies.

The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers has rebutted claims from the European Commission that it is operating a de facto monopoly for European collecting societies.

"We were very surprised by the Commission's statement," comments David Uwemedimo, director of legal affairs at Paris-based CISAC. He said CISAC's model contracts no longer applied many of the clauses that the Commission alleged were in breach of European Union rules. "At first sight, there appear to be three or four articles that they cite that are no longer in use in our model contracts," he said.

Uwemedimo also said he was stunned by the suggestion that CISAC could be fined if the Commission eventually finds that the royalty system is an unfair and restrictive business practice.

The Commission on Tuesday (Feb. 7) said it had issued a Statement of Objections to CISAC and its member national collecting societies into their model for gathering royalties.

The SO, which marks a formal step into European antitrust investigations, concerns only "certain relatively new forms" of copyright exploitation, says the Commission, namely Internet, satellite transmission and cable retransmission of music.

Uwemedimo said CISAC would respond to the Commission's SO but merely to correct what the organization felt were factual mistakes. It has not decided whether to request an oral hearing.

CISAC and its member collecting societies have two months to defend themselves in writing.