Pandora Sues ASCAP Over Royalty Fees
November 6, 2012

Pandora has sued songwriter royalty organization ASCAP, asking for lower licensing fees. Bloomberg reports that Pandora filed the suit on Monday in a New York federal court, asking ASCAP for "reasonable" license fees through 2015. The popular digital music service is seeking a blanket licensing fee, covering all songs under ASCAP. Bloomberg notes that Pandora and ASCAP reached an "experimental" fee agreement that ran from 2005 to 2010.

"The license rates and other material terms of the 2005 license agreement were presented to Pandora by ASCAP as being effectively non-negotiable," the company said in court papers, according to Bloomberg. Pandora added that the "experimental license agreement" reached in 2005 "was ill-suited and not reasonable." Pandora and ASCAP had been in negotiations for over a year but unable to reach an agreement.

Earlier this year, ASCAP reached an agreement with the Radio Music Licensing Committee, but according to its lawsuit, did not offer the same agreement terms to Pandora. The company also claims it believes it is entitled to lower rates because some larger music publishers have announced plans to withdraw new media rights from ASCAP and then negotiate licensing fees directly through online services.

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Jon Zellner
EVP/Programming Operations

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