According to the RMLC it’s because the lawsuit filed in November 2016 was filed in Pennsylvania and the RMLC says GMR is taking that out on Pennsylvania radio stations by refusing to cut licensing deals with them. “GMR has been clear that it does not want to litigate this case in front of this court; it would prefer to litigate in its home court in Los Angeles.”
The RMLC claims that GMR is retaliating against Pennsylvania-based stations because they are assisting the RMLC to establish jurisdiction in the Pennsylvania court. The RMLC says Pennsylvania is perfectly fine for this action to be filed because there are stations in this state, just like many others, affected by GMR’s actions. “If GMR is permitted to inflict this abuse on Pennsylvania-based stations, other stations across the U.S. will fear that if they assist RMLC in this lawsuit in any way, they too could end up in GMR’s crosshairs. RMLC says GMR will only deal with Pennsylvania-based radio stations if they agree not to use any discussions and/or licenses in any litigation. What the RMLC is arguing is that GMR is asking Pennsylvania radio stations to give up their right to seek retroactive fees if the court determined they were overcharged. Another reason RMLC might like Pennsylvania is because a court previously ruled in RMLC’s favor in a lawsuit filed against SESAC (see next story).
The RMLC also wants to be sure that if the court determines that radio stations were over-charged for the interim GMR licenses they signed, those radio stations have a way to recoup that money. The RMLC says GMR is refusing to agree that stations have any right to a retroactive fee adjustment. Last week the two sides actually picked up the phone to discuss their disagreements. RMLC says counsel for GMR confirmed that GMR was refusing to deal with Pennsylvania-based radio stations and could not confirm that stations would have the right to recoup excessive fees even if the RMLC wins the lawsuit.
GMR says the The RMLC has tried to bully GMR by filing the lawsuit and accusing GMR of being a monopoly. Radio stations that wanted to use the works on the GMR roster had to work out their own interim deals with the PRO while the original lawsuit makes its way through the court. GMR states is has entered into hundreds of licenses with radio stations. Interim licenses expire on September 30.
It’s unlikely the original lawsuit will be resolved before the interim licenses expire. It appears the RMLC is not quite sure if GMR is offering radio stations an opportunity to extend their interim licenses.