The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has appealed against a decision made in September by a New York federal judge that performing rights organisation Broadcast Music Inc (BMI) may use “fractional licensing”.
Mike O’Neill, president and CEO of BMI, said that the organisation was not surprised by the decision to file an appeal. “It is unfortunate that the DOJ continues to fight for an interpretation of BMI’s consent decree that is at odds with hundreds of thousands of songwriters and composers, the country’s two largest performing rights organisations, numerous publishers and members of the music community, members of Congress, a US governor, the US Copyright Office and, in Judge Stanton, a federal judge,” he said.
Source: US DoJ appeals fractional licensing copyright case
The U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division formally closed its revue of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees Thursday, issuing a lengthy statement spelling out why it decided not to make any changes to the decrees, at least for now, and why it now reads those decrees to require 100 percent licensing by the PROs of any works in their repertories even if they don’t represent 100 percent of the owners of those works.
The DOJ’s position was, to put it mildly, not universally popular within the music industry.
BMI immediately vowed legal action challenging the 100 percent requirement and sent a letter to the U.S. District Court overseeing its consent decree asking for a pre-motion conference.
David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), appeared on the verge of a stroke. Continue reading “DOJ Cites Music Industry’s Data Problem in Rejecting Changes to ASCAP, BMI Consent Decrees”
Despite reliable sources telling Billboard that the Dept. of Justice’s (DoJ) ruling expanding the power of the consent decree is a done deal — with a written statement detailing its decision is expected sometime this summer — the head of that agency, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, testified before Congress last week, on July 12, that the DoJ’s review isn’t complete and that a decision has not yet been reached.
“My understanding is that the review is not complete… and the decision hasn’t been made and the discussion is still ongoing,” Lynch said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.
Source: Attorney General Loretta Lynch Says Dept. of Justice Position on Licensing, Consent Decrees Isn’t Finalized | Billboard
Condemnation of a new U.S. Department of Justice position allowing 100% licencing of songs has been nearly universal within the music publishing community. In a show of unity, three independent music trade groups have issued a joint response:
We, the undersigned, represent the independent music publishing and record label community in North America, and want to lend our unified voice to the recent press and discussion regarding the outrageous position the Department of Justice (DoJ) has taken with regard to the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees.
Source: Indie Music Trade Groups A2IM, AIMP, CMPA Issue Joint Response To DoJ 100% Licensing Position – hypebot
The U.S. Department of Justice struck a major blow Wednesday to U.S. music publishers and performing rights organizations.
A nearly two-year process to amend the consent decree so that music publishers would have the right to withdraw digital licensing from the blanket licenses offered by ASCAP and BMI — the two performing rights organizations operating under a DOJ consent decree since 1941 — has ended with no changes to the consent degree, much to the chagrin of major publishers like Sony/ATV, Universal Music Publishing Group and BMG.
Source: Department Of Justice To Deny Consent Decree Amendment | Billboard