Press Release Music Licensing

Public Knowledge Files Comments Urging DOJ to Maintain Consent Decrees Overseeing ASCAP, BMI

August 9, 2019 , , , ,

Today, Public Knowledge filed comments urging the Department of Justice to maintain its consent decrees that allow the agency to oversee how The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) operate. ASCAP and BMI are two Performing Rights Organizations, or PROs, which offer “blanket licenses” that allow services, businesses, and others to publicly perform the works of the PROs’ member songwriters. In light of the current state of the law in the music marketplace, Public Knowledge encourages the DOJ to keep its consent decrees in place.

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

“The consent decrees that govern ASCAP and BMI are critical aspects of the music licensing regime. The reality is that PROs function as two-sided markets. Although they may compete for artists, the law and economics of music licensing combine to remove any incentive for PROs to compete against one another to attract licensees. 

“Without robust competition in the music licensing market, consumers could face higher prices, less choice, and an increase in licensing costs that could render many vibrant public spaces silent. In the absence of a truly competitive market in which PROs compete to attract services and other licensees, the consent decrees must remain in place to prevent ASCAP and BMI from abusing their substantial market power.” 

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