CISAC's planned reforms on the way royalties are collected has been met with opposition from a collection of European societies.

A group representing 21 small and medium-sized royalty collecting organizations has called for global repertoires to remain open, in apparent contradiction at CISAC's offer.

In a letter to the European Commission, the societies called for the entire world repertoire to remain available for all societies, and for the right to set up a one-stop-shop for on-line licensing in the European Economic Area.

This challenges a provisional deal CISAC struck with the Commission earlier this year, which pledges to set up reciprocal agreements between collecting societies.

As previously reported, the international authors' group's plans have already been criticised by media and telecom giants, who say the changes will complicate an already complex system.

The joint position by the smaller societies -- those from France, the U.K., Germany, Spain and Italy were not included -- warns that the reforms will eventually restrict choice, and hurt niche repertoire. "We believe this trend will lead, once these intentions become reality, to an over-centralization of market powers and repertoires at European level, i.e. an oligopoly," they said.

The statement reflects concerns that smaller societies are being squeezed by both the bigger publishers and the Commission. And with its own societies calling for different reforms to licensing, the statement also effectively undermines CISAC's authority.

At the same time, music insiders have said the plans to break up global repertoires mean that mandatory licenses will be required eventually, as users are unlikely to go around all the societies seeking separate licenses.

The challenges to the Commission's deal with CISAC come as the EU's Court of First Instance ruled that the Commission did not try hard enough to find a remedy in a separate case of market dominance.

The July 11 ruling concerned the deal to end purchases of rough diamonds by De Beers from Russian rival Alrosa, because the two held a dominant position. But the court said the Commission was wrong to accept commitments proposed by De Beers last year "at face value, without looking for alternative solutions" - a ruling that is expected to put pressure on the Commission to take a sterner approach with the CISAC offer.

Composer and performer groups have backed the provisional deal. European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) said the commitments will allow composers to select the collecting society best-placed to represent their interests, while performing artists' organization GIART insisted the reciprocal representation agreements have been successful for decades.

However, the CISAC concessions have been rejected by a coalition of media and telecom groups that includes RTL Group, Pro Sieben Sat.1, commercial television association ACTE, Cable Europe, as well as Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Orange and Music Choice.