Department of Justice begins review of consent decrees; ASCAP and BMI respond

The U.S. Department of Justice has officially opened a new review of the consent decrees governing ASCAP and BMI. Both performance rights organizations have operated their copyright management systems under these rules for more than 75 years. The review will examine whether the decrees should continue in their current state, receive modifications, or be ended entirely. Continue Reading


BMI wins out over Justice Department in appeals court ruling

BMI announced that a Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled in its favor, meaning the preforming rights organization will be able to continue its use of fractional licensing. That’s a big win for BMI, although understanding why requires some review of legal proceedings and details from the past 18 months. Continue Reading


Department of Justice confirms its consent decree ruling: No changes

It’s official. The Department of Justice has released the final ruling for its review of performing rights organization consent decrees, which includes “full-works licensing” and prohibits withdrawal of digital rights from bundled licenses. Both ASCAP and BMI are already mounting their responses. Continue Reading


DoJ announces consent decree decision: No change, plus a new rule

The U.S. Department of Justice has completed its much anticipated two-year review of consent decrees — decades-old laws which govern how ASCAP and BMI are permitted to license music on behalf of songwriters, composers, and publishers. The bottom line: No change, and a blow to the two major performing rights organizations (PROs) which have lobbied for more flexible control of rights management, especially in the streaming era. Continue Reading


ASCAP goes public with licensable share data

ASCAP has added information about the share of public performance rights it controls to its publicly available online ACE Database. According to the press release announcing the update, the database changes will support ASCAP’s request to the Justice Department for its members to have greater choice to withdraw certain digital rights. Continue Reading


How Misunderstandings about Big Numbers Distort the Debate over Songwriter Digital Music Royalties

by David Oxenford

Barely a day goes by without seeing some article about a songwriter whose song was played a million times on a digital music service like Pandora or Spotify, with the artist only receiving a relatively small amount of royalty revenue from that seemingly large number of plays. A number of issues are misunderstood — especially about big numbers. Continue Reading


First hints drop of Justice Department’s consent decree decisions

The Department of Justice has been engaged in a review of consent decrees for more than a year. These rules govern the blanket licenses that performing rights organizations negotiate on behalf of music publishers. Billboard has a piece on the changes the department is reported to be considering, according to its unnamed sources. Continue Reading


Universal prepares for ongoing legal licensing fights, hires performing rights special advisor

Universal Music Publishing Group announced that it has hired a special advisor on performing rights. The new post will be filled by Richard Conlon, who will advise the publisher on matters tied to advocating, protecting, and maximizing the value of performing rights for its songwriters. Conlon led the label’s digital new media licensing divisions as a former senior vice president at BMI. Continue Reading