This news has been circulating for weeks and on Thursday The Department of Justice made it official. DOJ has decided no modifications should be made to the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. Here’s what you need to know…
ASCAP and BMI license public performance rights for hundreds of thousands of songwriters and publishers. Since 1941, when the United States originally brought civil antitrust lawsuits against ASCAP and BMI, both organizations have been subject to consent decrees, which are designed to prevent anticompetitive effects arising from their collective licensing of music performance rights. Both consent decrees have been amended periodically since their entry. The ASCAP consent decree was last amended in 2001 and the BMI consent decree was last amended in 1994.
The Antitrust Division opened its investigation in 2014 following requests by ASCAP and BMI that the Antitrust Division join them in proposing modifications to the court-ordered consent decrees. The Antitrust Division met and spoke with dozens of industry stakeholders on numerous occasions during the course of its investigation, and obtained the input of industry participants and members of the public through public comment solicitations in June 2014 and September 2015. The Antitrust Division considered the views of all of these stakeholders before reaching its conclusions.
DOJ has determined that no modifications should be made at this time. The investigation by the department’s Antitrust Division also confirmed that the consent decrees require each organization to offer “full-work” licenses that convey to radio stations and other companies the right to publicly perform, without risk of copyright infringement, all works in ASCAP’s and BMI’s repertories.
Read more details about the DOJ investigation HERE