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Italian regulator tells Meta to resume licensing talks with SIAE

By | Published on Tuesday 25 April 2023


Italy’s competition regulator last week told Meta to get back to the negotiating table with the country’s song rights collecting society SIAE.

Last month, it emerged that Meta had begun excluding songs represented by SIAE from its Facebook and Instagram platforms after failing to agree a new licensing deal with the society.

For its part, SIAE criticised the social media firm, saying it had been left “bewildered” by Meta’s move to exclude its catalogue, adding: “This decision is striking considering the ongoing negotiation and the full availability of SIAE to sign a licence for the proper use of protected content under transparent conditions”.

It was then confirmed that the Italian competition regulator was considering whether Meta had “unduly interrupted the negotiations” for a new licence through its decision to exclude SIAE’s music while those negotiations were ongoing, exploiting its market dominance to put unfair pressure on the rights organisation.

According to Italian news agency ANSA, last week the regulator told Meta that it must resume its SIAE licensing talks and seek to restore music represented by the society to Facebook and Instagram, albeit only with SIAE’s consent. It should also provide the information that the collecting society says it needs to assist in those licensing talks, SIAE having previously criticised Meta for not being sufficiently transparent during its recent negotiations.

A Meta spokesperson told Reuters that while the company didn’t agree with the competition regulator’s initial conclusion regarding its spat with SIAE, it nonetheless welcomed the opportunity to resume licensing talks, adding: “We believe it is important to collaborate with the music industry”.

SIAE President Salvatore Nastasi commented: “We are open to an agreement to put Italian content back on Meta’s platforms and to negotiate constructively, but in compliance with the indications of the antitrust authority”.