Court Decision is an “Important, Common-Sense Victory” for Songwriters

Nashville, TN (WDEF) – Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker made statements today regarding the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York’s ruling against the Dept. of Justice’s (DOJ) interpretation that the Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) consent decree requires full-licensing instead of fractional licensing.

“The court’s decision is an important and common-sense victory for songwriters,” said Lamar. “There is more work to be done. Songwriters are the lifeblood of Music City, and their paychecks ought to be based on the fair market value of their songs – so that when they write a hit heard around the world, you can see it in their billfolds.

Last March, Senator Corker and I introduced the Songwriter Equity Act, which would allow songwriters to receive compensation based on the fair market value of their songs. I will also continue working on legislation to address the Department of Justice’s decision regarding the consent decrees that is creating such confusion among performance rights organizations and songwriters.”

Concerning the judge’s conclusion that the consent decree does not require “100 percent licensing” of musical works that are jointly owned, Sen. Corker added, “This ruling is a win for struggling Tennessee songwriters, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that our country has a competitive, vibrant music marketplace that works for music users and allows creators to be properly compensated for their work.”

On August 4, BMI filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York challenging DOJ’s findings. Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton ruled against DOJ’s findings, claiming in a declaratory judgment: The Consent Decree neither bars fractional licensing nor requires full work licensing.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is subject to a separate consent decree under a different federal court.

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