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Music Publishing News 11.18.16: DoJ Appeals BMI Ruling • GEMA Restricted • Songwriter Equity Gains Support


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The United States Department of Justice is appealing the ruling that concluded that fractional licensing is allowed under the BMI consent decree.  Federal Judge Louis Stanton ruled in September against the DOJ’s decision to uphold the consent decree and enforce 100% licensing for the two performing rights organizations, ASCAP and BMI.  

The appeal does not come as a surprise to the PROs, publishers, or songwriters; BMI president/CEO Mike O’Neill said, “it is unfortunate that the DOJ continues to fight for an interpretation of BMI’s consent decree that is at odds with hundreds of thousands of songwriters and composers.”

 • A Berlin court ruled this week that top German collection society GEMA can no longer distribute a share of authors’ royalties to its music publishers.  The ruling could have considerable economic repercussions on publishers, as it requires them to return all such payments made since 2010; payments distributed by GEMA to publishers normally account for 20% or more of revenues.  The decision is a result of a claim brought by two musicians and GEMA members who argued that they were entitled to claim both the author and publishing shares as the rights of utilization had been contributed to GEMA solely by the copyright holders.

• Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur has signed on as a sponsor to the Songwriter Equity Act of 2015. If passed, the bill, introduced by Congressman Doug Collins, will protect the rights and royalties of music creators.  The bill continues to gain support on Capitol Hill, as Kaptur joins cosponsor New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.  You can show your support of the bill by contacting your Congressional Representative and Senators via BMI’s online tool at www.bmi.com/advocacy.