Europe's General Court has upheld a ruling that would make it easier for companies to sell or stream music across Europe with multi-country licenses, Reuters reports. Currently, different music collection societies — which act on behalf of artists to license music — generally work with artists in each EU country, a system that requires Apple or Spotify to negotiate new deals for each market. But in 2008, the European Commission ruled that agencies must stop negotiating agreements that restricted them to a single territory, opening the door to pan-European licensing. Now, the General Court has supported that decision, though it rejected the Commission's assertion that companies had run afoul of anti-trust laws.
This decision means that multi-country licenses could become easier to negotiate, but the EU is also planning bigger changes. Last year, it announced new proposed licensing reforms that would require things like yearly transparency reports and checks on companies that wanted to offer multi-country streaming licenses. This proposal, which has yet to be ratified, would expand on the decision that was just upheld. While streaming companies like Spotify or Rdio would benefit from pan-European licenses, some artists have protested the EU's plans, particularly for a clause they say would allow collection societies to keep "unidentified" royalties after five years.