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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

ASCAP: Our Future is at Stake in Pandora Case


On Monday an unredacted version of ASCAP's appeal in its case against Pandora was unsealed in federal court, according to The Tennessean. The organization is in a bitter dispute with Pandora over rates the pure-play must pay songrwriters and publishing companies. Pandora now pays 1.85 percent of its revenue and ASCAP wants that number to be closer to 3 percent. ASCAP is also worried that a lower court ruling that allows publishers to negotiate directly with publishers will destroy the company. Here's some of what ASCAP filed in court...

"This is an appeal from two district court decisions that, if not reversed, threaten the viability of (ASCAP), this nation's oldest and largest performing rights organization," ASCAP argued in the brief. "Such an outcome would have a profoundly negative effect on songwriters, music publishers and music users themselves, disrupting the marketplace for the licensing of music performing rights that has functioned for many decades as a result of the well-established efficiencies provided by an ASCAP license."

ASCAP is arguing that the lower court misinterpreted the law and publishers should not be allowed to negotiate directly, which some believe, could lead to collusion, a claim the D.O.J is now investigating as part of its review of the ASCAP and BMU consent decrees. "The district court's ruling is also at odds with the history of ASCAP's consent decree, which shows that ASCAP and the Department of Justice deliberately removed from the decree the very prohibition on members reserving exclusive rights for themselves that the district court imposed."

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