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We wrote on Friday about a dispute bubbling up in Italy between collecting society SIAE and Meta, after the former accused the latter of removing its repertoire from its licensed music library.

Meta has yet to comment publicly, but music publishing organisations have been weighing in to support SIAE. ICMP is one of them.

“What Meta is doing is using unsurprising strongarm tactics of demanding a ‘take it or leave it’ fee and when not happy, removing music to try and devalue the deal,” said its director general John Phelan in a statement released on Friday.

“These tactics are not new. They were tried in France, Australia, Denmark, Canada and now Italy. They failed in these other countries and, they will not be allowed to succeed in Italy. Meta must obey the law and take a full and fair license for the music it wants to use and profit from.”

IMPF, which represents independent publishers, has also made its opinions clear on the dispute.

“The move is nothing short of a bullying tactic used to force SIAE to accept a one-sided proposal that disregards any reasonable, shared evaluation of the value of music,” said its statement, which was also published on Friday.

“Meta has now been without a license for SIAE repertoire since January 1 2023, despite SIAE having remained open to signing an agreement in good faith. Instead, Meta has decided to use its position as a corporate mega power to hold artists at gunpoint and undervalue their hard work and creativity.”

Both organisations also referred to the European Copyright Directive in their statements, criticising Meta for going against the principles enshrined in that legislation. As ever, our hope is for a settlement to be reached sooner rather than later. The risk for Meta is that bad blood with the music publishing community will linger.

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