EMI Music Publishing has forged a groundbreaking pact with two key collecting societies to build a one-stop shop for the licensing of online rights throughout Europe.

EMI Music Publishing has forged a groundbreaking pact with two key collecting societies to build a one-stop shop for the licensing of online rights throughout Europe.

The basic deal, announced today (Jan. 23) at Midem, represents a significant first step towards a simplified, pan-European licensing structure. Specific terms will be worked out in the upcoming months.

Under the agreement, the music publishing giant will work with the U.K.'s MCPS-PRS Alliance and Germany's GEMA to develop a one-stop shop to clear the rights of all EMI's Anglo-American songs across Europe for all platforms. Works covered by the deal are initially those owned or controlled by the English-speaking affiliates of EMI Music Publishing. More than half of the company's one million plus copyrights are understood to be included.

The agreement is the first after the European Commission -- the European Union's regulatory arm -- published its recommendations on Oct. 12, 2005 to streamline the rules on pan-European collective licensing.

The Commission gave the green light for such a collaboration after it completed an exploration into the obstructions legitimate online music services face on licensing compositions throughout the EU.

Talks on the new agreement have gathered pace for more than a year, says EMI Music Publishing executive VP/GM William Booth, who worked closely on the deal with his colleagues EMI continental Europe executive VP Terry Foster-Key and president/CEO for continental Europe Pete Ende.

Incoming GEMA CEO Juergen Becker comments, "This will provide licensees and consumers with a one-stop shop and also guarantee that rightsholders and sister societies are efficiently protected in the global digital networks."

MCPS-PRS chairman Adam Singer welcomes further breakthroughs in pan-European licensing. "The European Commission envisages two or three societies across Europe handling the licensing of song rights for online Europe-wide. This is the starting shot towards that scenario," he said.

"The Alliance will continue to ally with partner organizations that share its vision of borderless online licensing for Europe. Easier licensing will open the door for a truly digital Europe."

Separately, MCPS-PRS is partnering with Spanish society SGAE to develop a new joint-licensing platform for Anglo-Latin repertoires across Europe.

The London-based alliance says extensive trials on the collaborative initiative, dubbed eLOS, will take place in the first quarter.

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