On 2 April the Competition Council of Latvia (CC) adopted a decision to fine the collective copyright management association AKKA/LAA for abuse of dominant position. Royalty tariffs for music airplay in retail spaces and customer service areas set by AKKA/LAA to small and medium business in Latvia were substantially higher than equivalent tariffs not only in the neighbouring Lithuania and Estonia, but also in the majority of other EU member states.

Music airplay in premises that do not exceed 300 m2 in Latvia cost businesses at least twice as much as in Lithuania and Estonia, which are the countries of comparable economy and welfare level as Latvia. Tariffs in Estonia are substantially lower in all categories. In Lithuania, tariffs are lower for undertakings with premises under 850 m2, tariffs for larger businesses slightly exceed those of Latvia.

Moreover, comparison, using purchasing power parity and GDP index, showed that tariffs in Latvia are 50 to 100% higher (depending on the size of premises) than EU average.

AKKA/LAA has exclusive rights to licence public use of musical works in Latvia and represents both Latvian and foreign authors. As excessive tariffs were not objectively justified and reduced competitiveness of the businesses in Latvia within the Baltics and on the international level, the CC found an infringement of Article 13(1)4) of Latvian Competition Act and of Article 102.a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The fine was set in the amount of 64 948 EUR.

Royalty tariffs for public use of musical works in shops and customer service areas. Baltic states.

LVL per year, depending on size of premises

Comparison of tariffs in Baltics, using purchasing power parity index and DGP.

LVL per year, depending on size of premises

0% marks average price level in EU countries

Thus, although in absolute numbers prices in Estonia rise with the size of premises, in respect to EU average, the prices in Estonia decrease

Comparison of tariffs in EU, using purchasing power parity index and DGP.

LVL per year, depending on size of premises

AKKA/LAA has already been once fined for abuse of dominant position, in late 2008.