A group of copyright societies are aiming to simplify licensing issues concerning public performances of online music.

The five-member group assembled at the CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) World Congress and set out to simplify issues that have plagued Net-based music distribution. US organisation BMI (Broadcast Music), Holland's BUMA, Germany's GEMA, the UK's PRS (Performing Right Society) and France's SACEM.

The bodies signed an agreement that permits each group to grant licenses for online music use on a global scale.

"The parties recognize that one transmission of music over the Internet may result in performances in multiple countries," said the group in a joint statement.

"We realize that the extensive use of copyrighted music is not limited to territorial boundaries in the online world. We hope that others will agree that this is a necessary step to assure the legal performance of music online, and that many other societies will enter into such agreements."

The deals signed by the organizations will include Web casting, streaming content, online music on-demand and music that comes in the form of online video.

The five organizations will deliver a mechanism for the distribution of licensing fees to authors, composers and music publishers worldwide.