European performance income & US repertoire

IMPALA has set up a working group to look after the question of European performance income and repertoire from countries with no domestic right such as the USA.


A decision in the European courts (C 265/19 Recorded Artists Actors Performers Ltd v Phonographic Performance (Ireland) Ltd) has created a strange anomaly that we expect to be fixed promptly by the EU as it could have significant consequences.


It is important to bear in mind the following:

  • A lot has been said in the press and elsewhere about the decision and national treatment which isn’t necessarily correct.
  • This decision only relates to Ireland and Irish law for now. All other societies should continue to follow their national position already in place unless/until national legislation changes.
  • The European court said it was obliged to reach the conclusion because of the way the EU directive is drafted, but expressly acknowledged that this legislation could be changed.
  • EU legislation as now interpreted by the courts is currently incompatible with international copyright law and should be changed.  
  • We would be sceptical that this judgement could result in higher performance revenues in Europe, not least in the current climate. Instead we are concerned it would transfer value away from European producers and performers. The answer is a US domestic right. 
  • No payments should be made by European societies unless or until national laws is changed. 
  • The very first question is whether or not the EU legislation will be adapted to reflect the original intention and implement international copyright law properly (national freedom to decide about whether to recognise US recordings and other countries which don’t have a domestic right).
  • Paying out on US recordings without a US domestic right is not going to help the US secure a performance right.  It cuts across IMPALA’s efforts to increase rights protection for all with Europe’s trading partners.  

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

Coudenberg 70, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

+32 2 503 31 38