CISAC case: Gleiss Lutz successfully assists GEMA in proceedings before the General Court of the European Union

The General Court of the European Union has found in favour of the German collecting society, the Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA) and annulled the contested decision of the EU Commission in the so-called “CISAC case” on all the points challenged by GEMA. According to the General Court, the Commission did not furnish sufficient proof of alleged concerted practices among the collecting societies of various countries.  

The case was instituted in response to the European Commission’s decision of 16 July 2008 which stated that the membership and territorial limitations in a model contract of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) as well as alleged concerted practices among various European collecting societies were anticompetitive. GEMA brought an action for annulment against the relevant injunction order in September 2008.  

The General Court of the European Union has now ruled that the Commission did not furnish sufficient evidence of any alleged anticompetitive concerted practices with regard to specific territorial limitations in previous reciprocal representation agreements between collecting societies. In its judgment, it recognises that these territorial limitations can be explained by the collecting societies’ legitimate interest in cooperating with one another. At the same time, the Court acknowledges that this cooperation could be impaired if the collecting societies were to compete for the granting of identical licences.  

GEMA was advised by the Gleiss Lutz partners Dr. Ingo Brinker (Munich) and Prof. Dr. Rainer Bechtold (Stuttgart), with Prof. Dr. jur. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Schwarze (University of Freiburg) representing the collecting society before the European General Court.