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Composers complain to Brussels over copyright

A musicians' group is alleging that leading European broadcasters are forcing them to give up the copyrights to their work, sharply reducing their earnings.

The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance, representing 12,000 composers and songwriters, filed a complaint with the European Commission in Brussels, naming more than 15 broadcasters and studios, including the BBC, BSkyB and ITV.

The alliance said composers are often told they won't be commissioned unless they waive their copyrights. In the UK, that can mean composers giving up half their income; in other countries the percentage lost can be even higher, the group said.