It is sometimes listed as S.I.A.E. on releases.
SIAE is the Italian agency that's in charge of the safeguard of Author's rights, and since around 1970 its name appears on the labels of records produced in Italy.
It was founded in Milan in 1882 with the name SIA (Società Italiana Autori - Italian Authors Society) and took current name in 1927 when it gained national relevance for the safeguard of the author's rights, moving its headquarters in Rome. Since January 1st, 1970 it has the exclusive representation of the "mechanical reproduction rights" that had been under the competence of SEDRIM up to that date.
The latter society, born in 1926 as SIDE (Società Incassi Diritti Editoriali - Editorial Rights Collection Society) and soon renamed to SEDRIM (Società per l'Esercizio dei Diritti di Riproduzione Meccanica - Mechanical Reproduction Rights Society), founded in 1929 with similar French and German Societies the BIEM (Bureau International des Sociétés Gérant les Droits d'Enregistrement et de Reproduction Mécanique, an international organisation based in France), to ensure an international protection to the author's rights' owners.
The presence and type of SIAE stamp or similar writings can sometimes be helpful for records dating and to identify their later issues.
Before the introduction of the SIAE moniker Italian records carried, printed on the label, the BIEM writing (or, in some cases, SEDRIM). This writing was, around 1968-69, replaced with a simple "D.R." ("Diritti riservati" - Reserved Rights) and, since 1970, with the SIAE writing, first only printed on the labels, later with a handheld circular stamp.
Three different types of SIAE stamp are known:
The first type has a diameter of around 13/13,5 mm, can have different ink colours (blue, purple, red, green) and carries in the centre the letters SIAE and on the edge the full name "Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori - Roma" in capital letters. This stamp was used since late 1970 up to mid 1975. See here.
The second type is similar to the previous one, but slightly bigger in size (with a diameter of around 15 mm), the SIAE central writing is identical to the previous stamp, but sometimes it has a small star near the letter "S". Moreover the "S" of the word "Società" is mirror-inverted and the "A" in "Autori" is in lower-case. This stamp was used between 1975 and 1978.
The third type has the same specifications of the second one, except for the SIAE writing, which is in bold type and doesn't fill the entire central circle, leaving an empty space below that sometimes contains a number. This stamp was used starting in 1978/79 and, though mainly 15mm wide, also exists in the smaller 13.5mm size.
Around 1996 the use of stamp (also used on the back cover of the CD's after their introduction) was ceased and replaced with red/white paper stickers, later made in silver plastic.
For the record dating the following rules have to be pointed out:
- the presence of a SIAE stamp doesn't necessarily mean that a record is "official": many bootleg reissues printed in Italy have a SIAE stamp or sticker (this is especially true with the many pirate live LP's and CD's only issued in Italy).
- the absence of the stamp doesn't necessarily mean that a record is a bootleg, probably not all of the printed copies of any records used to be stamped.
- on some labels the stamp is almost invisible, and you have to search for it under a strong light to identify its size and specifications. On some plasticised papers (like the ones used by RiFi) the ink didn't stick. On black or generally dark labels the stamp is only visible backlight and often has a typical golden twinkle.
- the SIAE stamp does not usually appear on white label promotional records.
- SIAE Italia