The European Commission has published a report indicating that the Online Commerce Roundtable has made progress towards pan-European music licensing becoming a reality. The report contains the conclusions made during the 2008 meetings of the Roundtable, which discussed the business opportunities created by the Internet and barriers to online retailing in Europe. The most important outcome of these meetings is that SACEM, a French collecting society, has agreed in principle to entrust other collecting societies with the pan-European licensing of its repertoire and to act as non-exclusive rights manager for publishers and other collecting societies.
The sale of digital downloads of music was an important topic of discussion at the Roundtable meetings. Online retailers complain that the national structure of the copyright industries makes it difficult to acquire all the rights necessary to sell digital downloads of music within a given territory. Collecting societies are concerned about protecting and managing the copyrights they hold on behalf of the right holders. The consequence is that the repertoire of downloadable music available for online purchase by a consumer varies according to the Member State in which he or she is located.