The Netherlands

On behalf of the team

On 24 May 2022, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal rendered a final judgment in a case between the interest group Associated Business Music Distributors and six music distributors[1] (together “ABMD et al.“) and the Buma and Stemra foundations (“Buma/Stemra“).[2] Buma/Stemra [Copyright Office for Musical Compositions] is the Dutch collective management organisation for music licences. ABMD et al. asserted that in licensing music to be played for business purposes, Buma/Stemra abused its dominant economic position[3] because it applies different licence conditions for its members than for streaming services. The Court of Appeal concurred with this assertion. Firstly, it established that Buma/Stemra holds a dominant position on the copyright licensing market for making music available to be played for business purposes. Secondly, the Court of Appeal established that Buma/Stemra did indeed apply different conditions (i.e.: rates) for the use of music by streaming services and for classic music distributors. Thirdly, the Court of Appeal qualified this as abuse, which may harm the distributors’ competitive position. As a result, Buma/Stemra is acting unlawfully vis-à-vis the AMD members. Buma must immediately take action to eliminate the inequality and Buma/Stemra must compensate all damage suffered. The amount of the damage will be determined in further proceedings, the follow-up proceedings for the determination of damages.

[1] BCM Music Systems B.V., DJ-Matic B.V., Easys Horeca B.V., PB Sound B.V., The Music Marketeers B.V. en Xenox Music & Media B.V.

[2] Amsterdam Court of Appeal 24 May 2022, ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2022:1512.

[3] Article 24 of the Competition Act and 102(c) TFEU.