An Italian court has upheld an appeal by collecting society IMAIE (Institute for the Protection of Performing Artists Rights) against a previous ruling that had ordered it to close.

IMAIE was declared "extinct" by Rome's Prefect of Police, Giuseppe Pecoraro, on April 30. IMAIE then appealed to the regional appeals court, TAR (Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale, or Regional Administrative Tribunal) of Lazio, the region that encompasses Rome. The TAR examined the case yesterday (May 21) and ruled in IMAIE's favour. It remains to be seen whether the Prefect of Rome will in turn appeal against this latest decision.

IMAIE's president, Edoardo Vianello, tells Billboard.Biz: "We're naturally most satisfied with this ruling, as the Prefect's previous ruling didn't stand up. This is a first step, but we're glad that the TAR has recognized that IMAIE's problems are due to defects in the laws that govern it, rather than our incapacity to run the organization."

Vianello adds: "We don't know whether the Prefect will appeal against the TAR's decision. We would prefer to work alongside the Prefect in order to find a solution that can satisfy everyone."

IMAIE has been the subject of considerable controversy in recent years. As reported in Billboard last year ("A Royal Scam," Nov. 29), the situation reached a head when the country's Guardia di Finanza (Fiscal Police) began to investigate claims regarding the misappropriation by IMAIE members of unclaimed royalties.

The investigation was over royalty money collected from the broadcast and public performance of recorded music from 1975 to 2000. Collecting society SCF, which handles performance royalties for labels, collected the money retroactively on behalf of IMAIE - which was established in 2002 - and placed it in an IMAIE-administered fund.