CISAC Reacts To Dramatic Decision By US Department Of Justice On Music Licensing

CISAC — the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers — has expressed today its concerns with the August 4 conclusions by U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) of the two-year review on the Consent Decrees that have been governing performance rights societies ASCAP and BMI. CISAC also announced full solidarity with the decision of its U.S. members ASCAP and BMI to challenge the DoJ conclusions.

The DoJ has ruled that modifications to the Consent Decrees were not warranted at this time. The DoJ is also requiring both organizations to offer “full-work” licenses to users of music (radio, TV channels, digital music services, etc.). The concept of “full-work” (or 100%) licensing authorises rightsholders to license all rights in a musical work, even if the rightsholder only owns a fraction of those rights.

The unique nature of the global collective management system means that both American and foreign authors rely on the effective operations of ASCAP and BMI. Instead of modernizing the Consent Decrees to improve licensing solutions for the digital age, the DoJ’s decision threatens to unnecessarily disrupt the efficiencies of collective licensing, thereby harming music creators and users alike. The decision to force 100% licensing is out of step with international copyright laws and licensing practices around the world.

CISAC Director General Gadi Oron commented, “The global community of creators and societies represented by CISAC is bemused and extremely worried by the consequences of the decisions made by the Department of Justice. These decisions have been made without taking into account the interests of creators and with total disregard for the international legal framework that authors’ societies operate within.”

Oron continued: “ASCAP and BMI have decided to jointly challenge these decisions. BMI will challenge the decisions before the Federal court and ASCAP will take the lead in promoting legislative solutions. We fully support and stand by their actions. We hope that their actions will lead to a fairer U.S. licensing system that would work for all stakeholders.”

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