Italian collecting society SIAE says it has secured its independence, after its status as an "economic public entity" was officially recognised by the Italian government.

The declaration follows a meeting of the Italian Senate's Culture Commission on Dec. 21, in which a bill regarding the society was approved.

According to a statement by SIAE, the law effectively frees the society from some of the economic limitations that were imposed when it was placed under the rule of a special government commissioner in 1999. The society, which was founded in 1881, is now able to function as an independent enterprise, rather than as a state-run organisation. The government's commissionership ended in 2003, but the resignation of SIAE president Franco Migliacci in May 2005 (Billboard June 4, 2005) led many members to fear that it would return to overall state control.

In a statement current SIAE president Giorgio Assumma describes the Culture Commission's announcement as "historic".

"It places an insurmountable wall against the clumsy but dangerous attempts to privatize the society," Assumma says in the SIAE statement. "It hinders those who wish to turn our society into a piece of merchandise that could be sold off to private interests and even foreigners."