Cable TV lobby and Netflix weigh in on music industry’s consent decrees

gavel canvasThis year’s big debate over consent decrees has consequences for more than just the music industry. The Department of Justice has directly solicited statements from the performing rights organizations ASCAP and BMI, as well as from publishers Sony/ATV and Universal Music Publishing, but more fields have spoken out with their opinions.

Today, concerns over consent decrees led to a surprising agreement between long-standing enemies. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association made a submission to the DoJ calling for the regulations to stay in place. “Without the protections contained in the consent decrees, ASCAP and BMI would be in a position to extract excessive rates from licensees through the threat of copyright infringement litigation,” the statement said. This opinion is very similar to that of streaming service Netflix, which has been a target of the association’s ire in the past. Netflix also shared concerns with the DoJ about giving the PROs and their publishers too much control.

Whatever prices the PROs are able to set will surely have a trickle-down effect. If they can choose to charge more to license their songs, then the production studios making TV shows or movies will need to up their budgets accordingly. That means bigger fees charged to Netflix or cable networks, and in turn a higher subscription charge for the viewers.

Anna Washenko