The European Commission has warned societies which collect royalties on behalf of musicians that they may be breaking competition rules by extending their national monopolies into the world of the Int

The European Commission has warned societies which collect royalties on behalf of musicians that they may be breaking competition rules by extending their national monopolies into the world of the Internet.

"The European Commission has warned 16 organizations that collect royalties on behalf of music authors that their so-called Santiago agreement is potentially in breach of EU competition rules," it said in a statement on Monday.

It said this was because the cross-licensing arrangements that the societies had between each other caused an effective lock up of national territories, which extended to the Internet the national monopolies the societies have held in the off-line world.

"The Commission believes that there should be competition between collecting societies to the benefit of companies that offer music on the Internet and to consumers that listen to it."

--Reuters