For the past few years, Polish consumers have been able to browse the Apple iTunes store, but have not been able to make purchases, while other European Union members like France and the UK are able to shop on iTunes in their home countries. That’s about to change in the near future, according to an announcement by the European Commission in late May.
The main hindrance that has kept the store out rests in copyright law. Record labels, concerned that their music will be distributed illegally, are reluctant to sell their digital files in markets they deem to be not in accordance with EU standards with regards to copyright protection. But the European Commission plans to introduce a single EU-wide market, with one licensing system applicable to all 27 member states. However, while such a system is likely in the future, at the moment the issue has just come under discussion in Brussels, and change is unlikely to come overnight. The talks involved representatives of ZAiKS, the Polish copyright agency, and its equivalents from several EU countries, as well as representatives from Apple and the European Commission.
Such a system will not only allow for the introduction of a Polish iTunes store, but will pave the way for other online music and media outlets to enter the Polish market. However, iTunes is the essential first step, as the company currently distributes close to three-quarters of all the legally-sold music files on the Internet.