On 5 April 2017 the Italian Competition Authority (the "ICA") opened an in-depth investigation into the Italian Association of Authors and Publishers (in Italian language "Società Italiana Autori ed Editori" hereinafter "SIAE"), operating in the copyright protection and copyright brokerage sector.
The investigation started after several complaints from other companies offering alternative services to SIAE. The behaviour under investigation involved the Italian association of live music events (named "ASSOMUSICA") adopting guidelines asking new operators not to execute license agreements or pay fees to any of SIAE's competitors.
The ICA examined whether the conduct of SIAE reduced or excluded competition by impeding new operators from entering the relevant market and breaching editors' and authors' freedom to choose other copyright brokerage companies for the supply of the same services.
In light of the above, the ICA alleged that the aforementioned behaviors would amount to an anticompetitive agreement, in contravention of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Further, the ICA's officers made dawn raids at the SIAE and ASSOMUSICA's headquarters with the help of the Antitrust Special Unit of the Italian Fiscal Police. However, the alleged wrongdoing has yet to be proven at this stage and the investigation continues.