Music rights in casino games in Italy

There are peculiar complexities on the exploitation of music rights on casino games in Italy

Different music rights shall be considered in relation to casino games in Italy, also taking into account the role of Italian Copyright Collecting Society.

In the exploitation of music in casino games and in general on gambling websites, it is necessary to distinguish two major music rights, the synchronization rights and the right of making the music available to the public. But the scenario in Italy has an additional layer of complexity because of the role of the Italian Copyright Collecting Society, SIAE. Let’s review how to deal with these two rights:

How to exploit synchronization music rights in casino games in Italy?

Synchronization rights (“sync” for short) imply that the copyright holder of a particular song or any kind of composition has the exclusive control to sync music with a particular visual media output such as a casino game or the homepage of a gambling website.

In a world where digital tools allow anyone to manipulate and easily produce creative works, anyone can create works that may give a completely different meaning to the original one. This is why anyone intending to synchronize music with visual content of a game shall previously seek consent of the author of the original music track.

In the gambling world, such consent is usually obtained by the casino game supplier, but the matter shall be carefully dealt within the relevant contract. You can read on the same topic “What are sync rights in music law and why are they so tricky to manage?“.

The role of SIAE and the additional obligations under Italian music law

The consent from the author of the music to its synchronization cannot sort all the issues relating to the exploitation of music rights in casino games.

Indeed, the Italian Copyright Collecting Society, SIAE, operates as intermediary in managing the additional right of “making available the work to the public” of authors that are enrolled with the SIAE. This is a performance right covering also the usage of music on websites and applications and indeed a large number of our clients have been chased by SIAE to receive the payment of their license fees.

If the gambling website does not comply with the SIAE request, the risk is that the Italian Communications Authority starts an investigation under its procedure relating to the management of online copyright breaches (Read on the topic “New “era” for copyright Internet liability in Italy“).

The issue is that in most of the cases agreements between game suppliers and operators do not expressly address issues relating to the payment of license fees to the Italian Copyright Collecting Society. Therefore the matter is then left to the negotiation between the parties which shall also rely on the broad wording of intellectual property clauses in the agreement.

The review of this issue is an important matter to address in negotiations relating to casino games and indeed for some of our clients we drafted a template clause to be inserted in all their agreements concerning the Italian business.

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Giulio Coraggio

I am the head of the Italian Technology sector and the global head of the IoT and Gaming and Gambling groups at the world-leading law firm DLA Piper. IoT and artificial intelligence influencer and FinTech and blockchain expert, finding solutions to what's next for our clients' success.

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