Press Release Music Licensing

Public Knowledge Calls for DOJ to Address Anticompetitive Effects of Misguided Consent Decree Ruling

December 19, 2017

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled against the Department of Justice’s interpretation of the judicial consent decree governing performing rights organization BMI.

The following can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“The Second Circuit today decided that BMI does not have to fully own the songs that it represents as part of its ‘blanket license’ catalog. This erodes the purpose and benefit of blanket licensing, imposes additional costs on users, and allows BMI to extract monopoly rents without actually granting the rights that it represents itself as having.

“In short, the Second Circuit’s decision today undermines a fundamental principle behind the consent decree: that major PROs can harm consumers through anticompetitive use of market power. In granting today’s order, the court abrogated its judicial responsibility by refusing to consider the very reason for the consent decree’s existence. As a result, today’s decision has the potential to create an exception that swallows the whole. We hope that the DOJ moves swiftly to address the anticompetitive side effects of this ruling.“