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RECAP: DOJ Slams BMI Over 100% Licensing, Judge Upholds BMG Verdict, Users Still Can’t Hear High Fidelity

Posted by Glen Sears | August 15, 2016 9:49 am | No Comments

DOJ music licensing publishing ASCAP BMI

Story of the Week

Dept. of Justice Slams BMI’s Protest of Licensing Changes
In a letter to Judge Louis Stanton, who presides over the rate court that determines what performance rights organization (PRO) BMI can charge for various uses of its members’ work, the U.S. Dept of Justice has responded to BMI’s challenge of its interpretation that the consent decree requires the performing rights organization to license songs on a “full-works” basis.

The DoJ’s letter aims to remind Stanton of all the places and times BMI has claimed its blanket license entitles a licensee to play any song in its catalog, including in his own courtroom. “Just five months ago, BMI told this Court that its licenses provide “immediate access to the more than 10.5 million works in BMI’s repertoire,” according to the DOJ letter.

The DoJ also noted that BMI is urging the court to defer to the U.S. Copyright’s Office’s interpretation of the consent decree, which is at odds with the DoJ stance. But, DoJ writes, “the question at issue, however, is one of antitrust law and decree interpretation, not copyright law.”

In closing, the letter, submitted by Kelsey Shannon, notes that after its review, the agency “concluded that modifying the consent decrees to allow fractional licensing would undermine the traditional role of the ASCAP and BMI licenses, impair the functioning of the market for public performance licensing, and potentially reduce the playing of music.”

Read the entire story on Billboard

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