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Court Upholds the Decision on Abuse of Dominant Position by Collective Copyright Management Association



With the decision of 11 December 2009 the Administrative Regional Court rejected a claim of the Collective Copyright Management Association AKKA/LAA against the 1 December 2008 decision of the Competition Council of Latvia (CC) finding the abuse of dominant position. Thus the Court has confirmed the decision of the CC to be sound and legitimate.

With its decisions the CC fined AKKA/LAA for abuse of dominant position, by applying unfair tariffs for public performance of musical works in shops (except music shops), hairdressing saloons, solariums etc. The CC also set a legal obligation to abolish the unfair tariffs.

The Court confirmed the CC's conclusion that the tariff system adopted by AKKA/LAA that is based on the geographical scale principle (5 different tariffs within the territory of Latvia according to the geographic location of the customer (shop, saloon etc.)) is unreasonable, unclear and not based on objective criteria. Using such geographic criteria the tariff applied to a customer that is located in the centre of capital city Riga exceeds the tariff applied to a customer that is located in parish by 175%. Only in Riga city two different tariffs were applied (one for the customers located in the very centre of the city, other for the rest of the city). The Court also approved that it is sound to compare analogical tariffs that are applied in other Baltic states. Such comparison shows that neither Lithuanian, nor Estonian associations use such geographic criteria; moreover the tariffs in these countries are considerably lower.