On 19 August 2008 the District Court in Haarlem handed down a preliminary injunction in a case between the collecting societies PRS (UK) and Buma (NL). PRS had sought the injunction to prevent Buma from continuing to breach its contract of representation with PRS by granting multi-territorial licences for online use of the PRS repertoire outside The Netherlands thereby causing licensees to infringe the copyrights of PRS’ members.
On 21 July 2008 Buma announced in a press release that it had issued a pan-European licence to online music store Beatport.com, claiming that it was for worldwide repertoire, including that controlled by PRS. Under its representation contract with PRS, however, Buma is not authorised to include PRS’s repertoire in a licence anywhere outside The Netherlands. Buma claimed that it was no longer bound to any territorial delineation in the contract as result of the Commission’s Decision in the CISAC case of 16 July 2008.
Following a hearing that took place on 8 August, the judge ordered Buma to refrain from offering licences that involve the use of PRS repertoire outside of The Netherlands. The judge found that Buma offered “no convincing arguments” in its case. The judgment of the District Court of Haarlem confirms that collecting societies cannot issue licences without the explicit consent of rights holders and that this principle of law is not affected by the recent CISAC decision.
LJN: BE8765, Rechtbank Haarlem , 148418 / KG ZA 08-410