Ruling in a dispute between AKKA/LAA and the Competition Council on the penalties imposed on the association will be available at the beginning of February
5 January, 2018
On 5 January, the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court extended the availability period (until 6 February) of the decision in the case regarding the dispute between "Copyright and Communication Consulting Agency/Latvian Authors Association" (hereinafter - AKKA/LAA) and the Competition Council. The court heard the case last year on 6 December in accordance with cassation complaints filed by AKKA/LAA and the Competition Council in the dispute about the sanction of LVL 45 645.83 applied to the association. The court heard the parties to the proceedings on the cassation complaints filed and the answers provided by the Court of Justice of the European Union to the questions referred by the Supreme Court in the case.
The Competition Council had found violations in operation of AKKA/LAA's when applying royalty rates for playing music in public – in shops and places of provision of services. By the decision of 2 April 2013, the Competition Council found that the applicant – AKKA/LAA – violated the prohibition set out in Section 13, Paragraph one, Clause 4 of the Competition Law and in Article 102 (a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (abuse of a dominant position) and imposed a fine of LVL 45,645.83. When calculating the turnover of the last fiscal year for the imposition of a fine, the Competition Council also included the collected remuneration of the authors, indicating that according to competition law the net turnover of the associations should be calculated on the basis of similar principles as that of capital companies, providing that the calculation of the fine is not applied differently depending on the legal form of market participant.
The applicant filed an application requesting the annulment of the Competition Council's decision.
By the judgment of the Administrative Regional Court of 9 February 2015, the application is partially satisfied. The Court acknowledged that the Competition Council was right to find unfounded the application of unreasonably high rates for the use of authors' musical works in shops and in places of provision of services. At the same time, the court annulled the decision of the Competition Council regarding the fine imposed on the applicant and imposed on the Competition Council to issue a new administrative act within two months from the entry into force of the judgment, obliging the applicant to recalculate the fine, observing the factual findings and legal considerations established by the judgment.
Information prepared by Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court
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