Whereas the Radio Music Licensing Committee awaits an appeals court docket resolution in its so-far unsuccessful try to mix price court docket proceedings with ASCAP and BMI below a single choose, the commerce group has filed federal petitions to start the processes individually within the Southern District of New York.
Normally, such price proceedings petitions are initiated after negotiations between the efficiency rights organizations and the RMLC show fruitless. Underneath these petitions, the PROs will every make the case for what price it thinks their songwriters and publishers are entitled to obtain when their songs are performed on the radio. This day out, for the interval of 2022-2026, the RMLC is looking for to keep up the identical charges it had below the prior settlement which coated 2017-2021.
In July 2022, the RMLC tried to get ASCAP and BMI mixed right into a single price continuing, thus exhibiting its hand that it felt price negotiations had failed. For many years, every PRO had its personal separate price continuing, however about seven or eight years in the past, the RMLC started a brand new price court docket technique of making an attempt to assign market share to the 4 U.S. PROs — ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and International Music Rights — in try and maintain the charges in parity with market share, irrespective of every PRO’s track catalog. In submitting its petition to consolidate the speed proceedings to the Southern District of New York, which oversees each price proceedings and the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees, the RMLC stated the act was justified by the Music Modernization Act of 2018 that modified how the the Southern District assigns the speed court docket continuing.
The step to mix the speed proceedings into one was seen by some music business executives as an extra try and pursue that price technique. Having a single choose, as a substitute of bifurcated price court docket proceedings, may benefit the RMLC as a result of it might seemingly pit BMI and ASCAP in opposition to one another, vying for the next price than the opposite with each PROs arguing over market share.
However in Might this yr, Southern District Courtroom Choose Stanton dominated in opposition to the RMLC’s consolidation petition so the radio commerce group subsequently appealed that call. The Second District Appeals Courtroom has but to concern a ruling on the RMLC movement, however within the meantime, the RMLC is getting the ball rolling with the speed court docket by submitting amended petitions on BMI on Aug. 10 and on ASCAP on Tuesday.
Regardless of submitting petitions for the 2 price court docket proceedings, the RMLC petition for the ASCAP price court docket continuing says that if the Second Circuit Appeals Courtroom in the end agrees with the RMLC place to mix the 2 price court docket proceedings into one, “it reserves all rights at the appropriate time” to pursue a unitary motion in opposition to ASCAP and BMI.
The ASCAP price continuing covers the present five-year time period which started on Jan. 1, 2022. Within the prior time period (2017-2021), RMLC stated it paid a mixed 3.51% of web income as a royalty pool for the 2 PROs, with ASCAP getting 1.73% of that primarily based on market share claims it made on the time — which the RMLC now says was “a representation that turned out to be false.” In the meantime, BMI obtained 1.78% of radio stations’ web income.
However, in Might 2022, in line with the petition, the RMLC requested ASCAP and BMI if they’d be prepared to roll ahead the mixed 3.51% of web income royalty pool, supplied that ASCAP and BMI would agree on a mechanism for assessing every of their market shares.
Though the speed stage could be the identical, the RMLC implies it’s really a rise as a result of the mixed ASCAP and BMI share of whole performances on RMLC stations seemingly has diminished since when the prior agreements started, the RMLC argues in its petition.
In the meantime, it seems like BMI is requesting a price improve from 1.78% to 2.95%, in line with what the RMLC states within the BMI petition; whereas the RMLC ASCAP petition doesn’t disclose the speed ASCAP is looking for.
The RMLC didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
“The RMLC would rather continue to waste time and money on expensive litigation than simply paying songwriters a fair royalty for the use of their music,” ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews stated in a press release. “It’s not that complicated. Simply treat music creators who support your successful and profitable businesses with dignity and respect and everyone wins.”
Whereas the PROs and the RMLC look ahead to the speed court docket proceedings to make a willpower, all events have agreed to an interim price that permits radio to proceed to play music with out copyright infringement.