Italy's broadcasting and performance rights collecting society, SCF, is suing MTV Italy for non-payment. The citation, filed June 8 in Rome, concerns the MTV Italy main station, which is broadcast ter

MILAN -- Italy's broadcasting and performance rights collecting society, SCF, is suing MTV Italy for non-payment.

The citation, filed June 8 in Rome, concerns the MTV Italy main station, which is broadcast terrestrially and by satellite, and the satellite channels MTV Hits and MTV Brand New.

The filing cites articles 72 and 73 of Italy's Copyright Law, which govern payments by radio and TV stations to composers and labels for the public use of recorded material.

SCF president Gianluigi Chiodaroli tells ELW, "We reached an agreement with MTV Italy in 2002 which settled all outstanding payments until 2001 and which committed both sides to finding an arrangement for the future. Well, after two years of negotiations, which have gone absolutely nowhere, we have decided to resort to legal action."

MTV Italy managing director Antonio Campo dall'Orto says in a statement, "We're not at all worried because we've been paying these rights internationally for seven years, thanks to an agreement that MTV Networks Europe has made, both with the majors and with (U.K.-based Video Performance Ltd.), while in Italy we pay AFI."

AFI represents those labels not affiliated with Italy's main labels body, FIMI, which represents the majors and most of the country's indies.

He adds: "MTV Europe pays several million euros in rights every year, and we are firm believers in the concept of copyright."

SCF's Chiodaroli responds, "The fact is of the matter is that MTV Italy do not pay us, and the five majors and 90 medium-sized Italian indies that we represent."

While acknowledging that it is possible that the majors receive some form of remuneration from MTV for video material, Chiodaroli emphasizes that "most Italian indies don't. We know that, as negotiations with SCF have been going on, MTV have asked some of our indie members to provide videoclips for free, which is frankly unfair."

SCF reached an out-of-court settlement with MTV Italy's main competitor, terrestrial music channel, Rete A, after bringing similar legal action in July, 2003.

Says Chiodaroli: "Through negotiation or litigation we have developed working relationships with most of Italy's national and local radio and TV broadcasters, and only MTV Italy is missing from the picture."

He adds, "The first hearing is unlikely to take place until September, and court cases can drag on for years in Italy, but it's up to MTV Italy whether we can find a more rapid solution. Otherwise it will be for the judges to decide."

SCF, which was founded in 2000, collected 18 million euros ($21.6 million) on behalf of its members in 2003.

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