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IMPALA welcomes proposed competition law review in Europe

By | Published on Thursday 20 February 2020


Pan-European indie labels trade group IMPALA has welcomed the news that the European Commission is planning a review of competition law and how it relates to the digital domain. That plan comes as the EU unveils new proposals to ramp up the regulation of big tech and future tech, especially artificial intelligence technologies.

IMPALA, of course, has played a key role in scrutinising and opposing, within Europe, the consolidation of the music industry over the years. But its interest in competition law matters extends to the tech sector too, especially given the ongoing concern over certain tech giants exploiting their market dominance to the detriment of creators and copyright owners.

Welcoming the EU’s latest interventions in the digital world, IMPALA boss Helen Smith said: “The starting point is the EU’s acknowledgement that a level playing field is essential and that rules applying offline need to also apply online. This should apply across the board, from competition to copyright, through to taxation. This sounds obvious but the reality is that online platforms too often get a free pass”.

“We encourage the Commission to move quickly with its planned review of competition rules”, she added. “This is in line with our call for the EU to make sure its competition framework is fit for purpose in the digital age. This means more frequent use of interim measures, being able to review minority shareholdings, and overhauling key concepts such as ‘abuse of dominance’ and ‘essential facilities’. A lot needs to happen in this area to deliver a fair market”.

Smith concluded: “We also support exploring new rules to prevent platforms with significant network effects from acting as gatekeepers. This is vital. We also need to build on the platform-to-business regulation to address unfair trading practices and ensure small players are not disadvantaged in today’s online markets”.