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
As the Department of Justice winds down its review of the consent decrees governing ASCAP and BMI without recommending any changes—to the cheers of broadcasters—the performance rights organizations are signaling they aren’t ready to give up their battle to have the guidelines updated.
“While the DOJ has expressed their views, this is not the final outcome of this process,” ASCAP chief executive Elizabeth Matthews says. “ASCAP strongly disagrees with the DOJ’s position, and we are carefully considering all of our options, including potential legislative and legal remedies,” she writes in a note to her company’s songwriters.
Source: ASCAP, BMI Pump Up Volume In Consent Decree Fight. | | insideradio.com