Billboard is reporting that The Department of Justice is investigating has requested documents from ASCAP, BMI, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing Group in connection with their review of the consent decrees that ASCAP and BMI operate under. The requests seek information on the effect the consent decrees have on rates, including whether partial withdrawals of digital rights should be allowed, and plans to license other rights beyond the public performance rights that PROs handle today.
Sony/ATV chairman and CEO Martin Bandier tells Billboard he's not worried about that aspect of the consent decree review. The CID is "positive because it shows that the DOJ is taking seriously the concept of modifying the consent decree" ASCAP also told Billboard it welcomed the investigation.
Pandora has alleged the major music publishers and the PROs were working together to make changes to ASCAP and BMI by-laws that would allow for partial withdrawals, yielding higher performance royalty rates for all music publishers. ASCAP rate court Judge Denise Cote wrote, in an earlier decision, that Pandora has shown the Sony and UMPG licenses (which were direct deals, cut after the publishers withdrew digital rights) to be the product of, at the very least, coordination between and among these major music publishers and ASCAP.
Read the full Billboard story HERE
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