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The European Commission's competition police have opened a formal investigation into the network of companies that collect copyright royalties for music broadcast on the internet.

Antitrust investigators sent a Statement of Objections to the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), which supplies model contracts that are used by its members to divvy royalties by EEA countries, the commission said in a statement.

It was concerned the royalty collectors used a number of methods to ensure that each of them retained exclusive access to broadcast royalties in their country of operation.

"The effect of the network of interlocking agreements between the collecting societies is [to] guarantee to collecting societies an absolutely exclusive position on their domestic market: the historical de facto monopoly is strengthened and potential new entrants are prevented from entering the market for the management of copyright."

The commission is waiting for CISAC to present its defence.®

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