HOME > NEWSROOM > ARTICLES > NRBMLC Files Comments to DOJ on ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees

NRBMLC Files Comments to DOJ on ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees

NRBMLC logoThe NRB Music License Committee (NRBMLC) filed comments with the U.S. Department of Justice last week in response to its plans to review the “consent decrees” that govern how the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) license songs for public performance in the United States.

The consent decrees, which for more than 50 years have subjected both ASCAP and BMI to Federal Court oversight, set limits on their operations and how they license their music. 

The NRBMLC – along with two other broadcast industry music license committees, the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and the Television Music License Committee (TVMLC) – filed comments asking the DOJ to refrain from eliminating or even “softening” these decrees.

ASCAP and BMI, along with major publishers and with the encouragement of the U.S. Copyright Office, have been lobbying the DOJ to modify their consent decrees “to account for changes in how music is delivered to and experienced by listeners.”

The NRBMLC, however, insists that the market for music performance rights is not competitive and the consent decrees remain critical to restraining anticompetitive behavior by ASCAP and BMI.

In its comments, the NRBMLC pointed out that the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC) is a perfect example of music licensing without consent decrees.  Presently, SESAC has no government oversight and thus sets its rates as a monopolist – “a seller with which all radio stations must deal, but whose prices are unrelated to the value of the music performed.”

“As a result of its behavior, SESAC has been sued for antitrust violations by both the Television and Radio Music License Committees,” noted NRBMLC in its comments. “The SESAC experience demonstrates the importance of fostering competitive alternatives.”

Formed in 1985, the NRBMLC is a standing committee of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). The NRBMLC, along with its noncommercial counterpart, NRBNMLC, represents approximately 900 full-power commercial and noncommercial AM and FM radio stations in their music license dealings. Their objective is to help foster competition and common sense in the pricing of music. 

According to NRBMLC Executive Director Russ Hauth, it could be a long time before things are sorted out. “Congress is committed to a full review of the U.S. Copyright Act, a project that could take multiple terms,” he said. 

By NRB Staff

Published: August 14, 2014

Comments

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »

Latest News

Protecting Marriage: How to Get the Media Message Right for This Generation

Traditional, biblical marriage between a man and a woman is under unprecedented attack.

NRB15 Program Book Now Available Online!

Get an early start on your daily plans for the NRB 2015 International Christian Media Convention by downloading the PDF version of the Program Book here.

INK 180 Documentary Given Highest Rating by the Dove Foundation

The Dove Foundation has given its highest seal of approval to the documentary INK 180.

Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton to Speak at NRB15

John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is scheduled to speak on Monday, February 23, 2015, at a special event during the NRB 2015 International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, TN.

Prime Minister Netanyahu to Address Congress in March

A day after President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to issue a veto threat against new sanctions on Iran, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced that...

Subpoena Scuffle in House Committee

Last week the House Energy & Commerce Committee started off with a scuffle over the organizational rules of the panel.

Proposed to Defeat Islamist ‘Global Jihad’

On Friday January 16th, the Center for Security Policy, an NRB associate member, held a panel event on Islamist extremism that was nationally televised by C-SPAN.

Protecting Life: How to Get the Media Message Right for This Generation

Unborn lives hang in the balance as the battle of competing values rages.

One of Many Reasons to Attend NRB15: Networking!

When it comes to strategic networking opportunities for Christian media and ministry professionals, NRB’s International Christian Media Convention is a frontrunner.

Interview Opportunities at NRB15

Attention all NRB Members, Convention Exhibitors, and Convention Sponsors!

More News