Brno, South Moravia, Jan 7 (CTK) – The Copyright Protection Association (OSA) received a fine of 10.67 million crowns from the antitrust office (UOHS) for abusing its dominant position in the Czech Republic, the UOHS reported in a press release today.
The fine did not come into effect yet. The UOHS issued the fine based on the OSA’s steps taken between 2008 and 2014, when it charged all accommodation providers to pay a copyright fee even for receivers situated in otherwise empty rooms.
The Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants (AHCR) has welcomed the UOHS decision.
According to the UOHS, the OSA breached not only the anti-monopoly law, but also competition rules set by the European Union.
“The abuse was based on the fact that the OSA did not take into account if the rooms in accommodation facilities are occupied or not. The operators then had to pay a fee even in cases when the room in question was empty,” UOHS spokesman Martin Svanda said, adding that the OSA filed a complaint against the UOHS decision.
The AHCR welcomed it, on its part.
“We repeatedly explained that it was pointless if a guest or a hotel operator paid for a service or product they not only did not want but were even unable to consume,” AHCR President Vaclav Starek said.
The OSA represents not only Czech authors, but also foreign ones, which means its approach in 2008-2014 damaged the trade between countries as well.
In 2018, the OSA collected 973.2 million crowns, 14 percent more than in 2017. It paid 195,000 copyright holders a sum of 761.78 million crowns for a total of 976,500 music tracks.
The OSA was founded on October 9, 1919, continuing the work of its predecessor, the Association for the Protection of Writers, Composers and Music Publishers.
Apart from the OSA, there are other similar organisations active in the Czech Republic, for example Intergram, Dilia and the Organisation for the Protection of Authorship.