Music and social media, Siae-Meta clash: question and answer

Siae: “Meta as a North Korean dictator”. Meta: “SIAE has said no to offers lower than an increase of +310%”

Prolonged question and answer, with exchange of accusations, between Siae and Meta. Object of the clash: music on social media and rights. In the absence of a new agreement for the renewal of the license, on Facebook and Instagram – which belong to Meta – the songs of the Siae repertoire are blocked or silenced.

“Those of Meta behaved like a North Korean dictator, we asked for data and they didn’t want to provide it. During the negotiation they told us: ‘If you haven’t accepted our conditions by 6 pm today, all the Italian contents they will be removed'”, said the president of SIAE, Salvatore Nastasi, during the hearing before the culture commissions of the Chamber and Senate.

Meta’s license for Siae content “expired on December 16 last year and right now, as we speak to each other, there is still unlicensed content on the platform. And until the day the negotiations broke down ten days ago, they continued to operate without a licence,” he added.

“The moment that license expired – observed Nastasi – we sat down to renew it, but we didn’t have the data we asked for to be able to renew that agreement”. Data that “on the basis of European legislation, the platforms must provide the counterparty, in this case the SIAE”.

“Our interest is to arrive at closing the negotiation that has never been interrupted. So if tomorrow morning Meta says ‘let’s sit down at the table again’ giving us the elements that allow us to reach a conclusion, we are delighted to do so, we represent the interests of the Italian authors, so we don’t necessarily want to have discussions. We have never left the negotiating table and we hope that this will continue, despite the threats,” he said again.

From Meta, the words of Meta’s head of Institutional Affairs, Angelo Mazzetti. “We have not decided to interrupt the negotiations unilaterally, as has been stated. The license expired on December 15, 2022, and we have already been in contact since last August to renew the agreement. The negotiations were interrupted due to the nature of the amount requested from Siae, which was initially 4 times higher than the agreed amount until 2022 without any reason being given while the license fees were essentially the same,” he said in his hearing before the joint Culture and Transport committees of the Chamber .

“We have done everything possible to keep the negotiation alive – added Mazzetti – presented an offer significantly higher than the royalty agreed with Siae until December 2022. We have progressively increased our offer trying to meet Siae’s requests which, however , has refused to accept any offer less than a +310% increase. We are not willing to close deals that are unreasonable from an economic and market point of view,” he concluded.

The agreement with Siae “is one of our priorities – added Mazzetti – we have agreements with all the main rights holders in Italy and abroad. All these agreements were renewed after the entry into force of the Copyright Directive. If we have removed the Siae catalog is precisely out of respect for intellectual property”.

For Meta, “the absence of music is due to Siae’s refusal to accept an extension of the previous agreement in order to continue negotiations. We could not tolerate the use of Siae’s repertoire without an existing license, therefore without consent and remuneration of the authors. We have disabled the music of the Siae repertoire precisely to protect the rights of artists throughout Italy”.

“Meta’s statement that ‘Siae has refused to accept any offer that is less than a 310% increase over the 2022 deal’ is simply false. As stated in our hearing, which we transparently decided to make public unlike Meta, the new license is not comparable with the one signed in 2020 and any comparison in percentages is simply specious”, replied Nastasi closely.

“Meta was called Facebook – added Nastasi – and it did not want to deal with the metaverse and its revenues and exploitations of our repertoire were not in the least comparable to the current ones. In addition to this, the declaration is false and specious as Siae has never given an ultimatum to Meta as done by the latter and we have never said that our latest offer is the minimum that we would be willing to accept.The one that wants to impose its own value and that has interrupted the negotiation, creating the conditions for the current situation, is and only Meta remains”.