MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s antitrust authority said on Wednesday it would investigate Meta Platform over the possible abuse of its position in talks over the rights to music posted on Meta’s platforms and potentially hurting competition in the sector.
The dispute involved the Italian society of authors and publishers, SIAE.
According to the antitrust regulator, Mark Zuckerberg’s company may have “unduly interrupted the negotiations for the stipulation of the licence for the use on its platforms” of SIAE’s music rights, it said in a statement.
Meta interrupted talks for the renewal of expired contracts by eliminating SIAE-protected music content from its social platforms, but didn’t provide the required information to SIAE to negotiate under the “principle of fairness and transparency,” the regulator said.
Its conduct could hurt competition in the relevant markets and “cause serious damage to consumers,” it added.
Last month, Meta, which owns Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram, failed to reach a deal with SIAE to renew the copyright license. As a result, all songs under SIAE’s books have been blocked on its platforms since March 16.
“We will fully cooperate with the inquiry from the Italian Competition Authority. Protecting the copyrights of songwriters and artists is an important priority for us,” a spokesperson for Meta said on Wednesday.
The investigation involves Meta Platforms Inc, Meta Platforms Ireland Limited, Meta Platforms Technologies UK Limited and Facebook Italy S.r.l.
(Reporting by Alessia Pé; editing by Gavin Jones and Bernadette Baum)