ASCAP, BMI Consent Decrees Remain Necessary To Promote Fair, Efficient Music Licensing
August 6, 2014

The Consent Decrees governing the licensing of musical works performance rights by ASCAP and BMI provide important protections for licensees from potential anti-competitive behavior by the performance rights organizations (PROs) and their protections should be maintained in full, NAB said in comments filed today with the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.

In its filing, NAB voiced support for the views expressed by the Television Music License Committee and the Radio Music License Committee to the DOJ, and cited an analysis by economist Steven Peterson expounding the public interest benefits of the Consent Decrees. The Consent Decrees, Peterson’s analysis found, creates numerous efficiencies through the aggregate licensing, enforcement and administration of the rights to musical compositions. In addition, the analysis cited the conduct of SESAC – a PRO not governed by a consent decree – to highlight the abuses possible by PROs with blanket licensing ability that is unrestricted by DOJ oversight.

"The aggregation of rights gives the PROs tremendous market power, which in the absence of the Consent Decrees would allow the PROs to extract supra-competitive pricing for their licenses," said NAB in the filing. "Radio and television broadcasters lack control, in certain instances, over the particular songs that are broadcast. Even with respect to programming created by broadcasters, each of the PROs has aggregated such a large repertory that there is often no practical way to avoid playing music licensed by each of the PROs."

NAB referred to recent rulings in two antitrust cases brought against SESAC in which the courts expressed the view that there was sufficient evidence that the PRO had engaged in anti-competitive behavior that gave licensees no choice but to purchase SESAC's licenses.

NAB also urged the DOJ to not amend the Consent Decrees to allow some music publishers to selectively withdraw their catalogs from the PROs for some licensees but not for others. If allowed to do so, music publishers could discriminate against some licensees and leverage their outsized market power relative to those licensees to extract to pay exorbitant fees.

"The major music publishers with substantial catalogs have essentially the same market power as the PROs because their catalogs do not compete with one another, and each has aggregated a large enough number of songs from individual songwriters as to make the licensing of their catalogs indispensable for broadcasters," said NAB. "If allowed to circumvent the Consent Decrees, those publishers will abuse their market power to extract supra-competitive rates, terms, and conditions from the blanket licensees they choose to target."

If the DOJ decides to amend the Consent Decrees, NAB said, then it should focus on requiring greater transparency by ASCAP and BMI. The PROs should provide more accurate and comprehensive information about the musical compositions that are being licensed, which could help develop an alternative to the anti-competitive effects of blanket licenses.

"Lack of meaningful access to such information has increased transaction costs and hindered licensing activities – both direct and collective," said NAB in its comments. "Repertory transparency would allow licensors, licensees, and the rate courts to better understand the rights that are being licensed and their value."




 
Breaking News
Dennis Reese Named SVP/Promotion At RCA Nashville
Cumulus Media Brings Hot AC To Savannah, GA Launches WZAT (102.1 The Sound)
In Brief - March 27, 2017
March 24, 2017
Ryan Seacrest Announces KIIS FM's Wango Tango 2017 Lineup
WMGC (105.1 The Bounce)/Detroit Adds “Big Boy” To Mornings
107.1 The BOSS/New Jersey Announce Air Talent Line-Up
March 23, 2017
iHeartRadio Surpasses 100 Million Users
Westwood One Promotes Mark Wildman to EVP/Strategic Partnerships
March 23, 2017
iHeartMedia Oklahoma City Names JJ Ryan PD For KJYO & KXXY
Entercom Names Richard J. Schmaeling EVP & CFO
Doug Gottlieb Joins FOX Sports Radio & FS1
March 21, 2017
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports 4th Quarter and Full Year 2016 Results
Chip Arledge Appointed OM For Cumulus Media Shreveport/Bossier City, LA
KXQQ/Las Vegas Names Natalia Hernandez As New Midday Personality
In Brief - March 21, 2017
March 17, 2017
Cumulus Reports Results for Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2016
Entercom Austin To Move 96.3 FM RnB To 95.9 FM
March 16, 2017
iHeartMedia Names Geoff "G-Off" Owens PD For KXJM/Portland & KUBE/Seattle-Tacoma
c3 & FMC Statement: Elimination of the NEA, NEH, and CPB Indefensible, Shameful, and Senseless
iHeartMedia Introduces SmartAudio
Condé Nast Acquires Pop2Life And Ribyt
March 15, 2017
Radio One Houston Names DJ Riddler MD & On-Air Talent/Mixer For KROI (92.1 Radio Now)
iHeartMedia Names Mark Fuhrman Area President in Pittsburgh/West Virginia Region
Music News
Drake's More Life Sets Billboard 200 Streaming Record
Quick Hits: Halsey, Snoop Dogg / 2Pac, Pitbull / Wrestlemania, Paul McCartney, Phoenix, Matchbox Twenty & Counting Crows
Quick Hits: Kendrick Lamar, Iggy Azalea, Vans Warper Tour
Quick Hits: Gorillaz, Kaaboo Festival, March Madness
Chance the Rapper, The Killers, Muse & Arcade Fire Headlining Lollapalooza
QuickHits: Ed Sheeran, Chuck Berry, The Decemberists
QuickHits: NIN, Missy Elliot, Frank Ocean, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Sublime
Rock Pioneer Chuck Berry Passes Away
The Entertainment World Remembers Chuck Berry
Ed Sheeran Spends Second Week Atop Billboard 200
QuickHits: Drake, James Blunt, Spoon, Bob Dylan
Quick Hits: Coldplay. BET Experience, Weezer
Quick Hits: The Chainsmokers, Pitbull, Ohana Music Festival, Arroyo Seco Weekend, Feist
Ed Sheeran Earns Biggest Debut Week of 2017
Quick Hits: Drake, Pearl Jam, Fifth Harmony
FMQB NOW

Sam Milkman, EVP
Coleman Insights

Advertisement:
Search FMQB.com
Advertisements:
FMQB Member Login
Email:
Pass:

Save
Not a member yet?
Sign up Now!
Sign Up for Breaking News!
Enter FMQB E-Tracking!