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EU-wide iTunes Store May Be on the Way

Apple could start selling songs through its iTunes Store in all 27 nations in the European Union if it can get licensing rights from the record labels and royalty collection groups. The European Commission is pushing for an open music download market that would remove the licensing issues that keep legit music download services out of certain countries.

Apple has been blocked from selling music in eastern EU countries thanks to music licensing limitations, but given the chance it appears that the Mac and iPod maker would expand its online music and video store to those areas, too.

The European Commission said in a report that Apple "would agree to consider making its content available to all European consumers, including those from the Eastern European countries where iTunes is currently not available [if it is] able to license rights on a multi-territorial basis from the publishers and collecting Societies."

One obstacle that the EU will have to face is convincing the various royalty collection groups to work together. France's SACEM collection society has stated it is willing to cooperate, at least in principle, but other EU royalty collection groups have yet to weigh in.

If all the European Commission can convince all of the players to come together, EU music fans would likely have more than just Apple's iTunes Store to choose from since other media download services could take advantage of multi-country licensing, too.

[Thanks to Bloomberg for the heads up.]

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