SIAE v. META: Italian music on social media at risk marcantonio-demo 25 April 2023

SIAE v. META: Italian music on social media at risk

As you know, the European Copyright Directive no. 2019/790 (implemented in Italy with D.lgs. 8 November 2021, n. 177), provides that online platforms (such as Instagram and Facebook, managed by Meta Platforms Inc. by Mark Zuckerberg), must obtain a prior license from the artists, or by the person representing them, to reproduce their works on the web, recognizing the authors a fair compensation. The same Directive, moreover, provides that, if requested, online platforms must share information about their business and in particular about the actual revenues they have obtained from the use of protected works, in order to allow commercial negotiation, with authors and their representatives, as much as inspired by the principles of fairness and transparency.

According to the SIAE (which, as you know, is a fundamental point of reference for authors and publishers, protecting their right to payment of fees due to them for the use of their works), the proposal made by the company Zuckerberg for the use of the works of Italian authors on social media controlled by Meta was not fair and, moreover, the latter had refused to share information about its business with SIAE, requests for the sole purpose of being able to define the congruity of the sum to be recognized to the artists. Faced with the lack of agreement, Meta has unilaterally decided to remove from Facebook and Instagram the music content of the repertoire managed by SIAE, thus preventing users of those social media access to songs protected by SIAE.

The litigation opened by the Meta blitz has thus become a real casus belli, putting into play the fundamental requirements of protection of creativity and fair remuneration of authors and control of a minimum of transparency and fair negotiations by the multinationals of the web. Faced with this, has recently intervened in the matter the Authority Guarantor of the Competition and the Market (AGCM), that, with an own provision of urgency, has ordered to Meta to resume the negotiations with SIAE “maintaining a correct behavior and good faith” and then, if you get permission from SIAE, to immediately restore access to music content on Facebook and Instagram.

We will see in the coming days what will be the epilogue of this disconcerting event of such a significant impact for Italian artists.