@edchristman: @IrvingAzoff’s Global Music Rights Files Suit Against Radio Industry Body Over Monopolistic Practices

mic-coaltion-8-15

The radio industry is about to learn what many others already have — when you push Irving Azoff, he pushes back. Usually harder.

After nearly two years of negotiations over licensing rates for radio song plays, the Radio Licensing Music Committee (RMLC) recently “ambushed” Global Music Rights (GMR) — the nascent U.S. performance rights organization launched in late 2013 by Azoff, in conjunction with MSG Entertainment and with former ASCAP executive Randy Grimmett at the helm — with an antitrust lawsuit filed in the U.S. Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania on Nov. 18.

That was followed by the filing, on Dec. 6, Daniel Petrocelli and his firm O’Melveny & Myers of an antitrust suit on behalf of GMR against the RLMC in the U.S. Central District Court of California. Petrocelli stresses that the suit is not retaliatory, but was filed to fight the RLMC’s “collusive tactics to depress [the] prices” that radio stations pay songwriters.

Azoff, the legendary artist manager who began GMR because he felt songwriters were getting shortchanged in performance licensing, tells Billboard that he takes “artist rights very seriously. I grew up around guys named Lew Wasserman[former head of MCA, now known as Universal Music Group] and Steve Ross [who created Warner Music Group], who taught me to respect talent. We feel that they [the RMLC] violated respect for talent. We didn’t start this fight, but we aren’t going away.”

Read the post on Billboard

@scleland: How Google Is Anti-employment Anti-property & Pro-regulation

Google’s unprecedented Obama Administration influence and its self-serving anti-employment, anti-property, and pro-regulatory policy agenda, are on a collision course with the job-creating, pro-property, deregulatory Trump Administration growth agenda.

Keep watch to see who adapts to whom and how.

I.  Google’s Unprecedented Lobbying Influence

Current Alphabet-Google Chairman Eric Schmidt enjoys the privilege of being the onlycorporate leader of a publicly-traded company on the President’s nineteen member Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Coincidentally, former senior Google executive from 2003-2014, Megan Smith, is the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, responsible for all tech policymaking in the Executive Branch.

Coincidentally, Former Google Deputy General Counsel for intellectual property from 2003-2009, Alexander Macgillvray, is the Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer for intellectual property & privacy policy.

Coincidentally, former Google Senior Engineer from 2006-2013, Mikey Dickerson, is Deputy U.S. Chief Information Officer and Administrator of the U.S. Digital Service, a new organization and position.

Renata Hesse, Google’s former outside antitrust defense counselis coincidentally now Acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, who coincidentally is the lead liaison with EU antitrust authorities concerning the EU’s three pending monopolization cases against Google.

Former Google Deputy General Counsel and head of patents and patent strategy from 2003-2012, Michelle Lee, is coincidentally now Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, who coincidentally joined the USPTO just when Google faced several new serious patent lawsuits.

And coincidentally yet again, the U.S. Register of Copyright, Maria Pallante, just got fired coincidentally after she disagreed with Renata Hesse and Google’s position on a music copyright consent decree and with the FCC-Google position that FCC authority should supersede copyright in the FCC’s Set-Top Box rulemaking.

Coincidentally, Google employees visited the Obama White House 427 times per White House Logs including 128 visits coincidentally by Google’s lobbyist Joanna Shelton alone, many more times than any other special interest.

And a final coincidence, Google also has generated the most “revolving door” moves of any company with this Administration with 251 Google employees either entering the government or government employees joining Google, according to the Google Transparency Project.

Read the post on the Precursor Blog

@ddayen: Google Gets a Seat on the Trump Transition Team

GOOGLE IS AMONG the many major corporations whose surrogates are getting key roles on Donald Trump’s transition team.

Joshua Wright has been put in charge of transition efforts at the influential Federal Trade Commission after pulling off the rare revolving-door quadruple-play, moving from Google-supported academic work to government – as an FTC commissioner – back to the Google gravy train and now back to the government.

The Intercept has documented how Wright, as a law professor at George Mason University, received Google funding for atleastfour academic papers, all of which supported Google’s position that it did not violate antitrust laws when it favored its own sites in search engine requests and restricted advertisers from running ads on competitors. George Mason received $762,000 in funding from Google from 2011 to 2013.

Wright then became an FTC commissioner in January 2013, agreeing to recuse himself from Google cases for two years, because of his Google-funded research. He lasted at the FTC until August 2015, returning to George Mason’s law school (now named after Antonin Scalia). But Wright also became an “of counsel” at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Google’s main outside law firm. Wilson Sonsini has represented Google before the FTC.

Wright’s leadership position in the Trump FTC transition flips him back into government work.

Read the post on The Intercept

How President Trump Can Give Songwriters and Publishers Immediate Relief from DOJ and LOC Overreach — Music Tech Solutions

The Obama Department of Justice filed notice on November 11 that it intended to use the peoples money to appeal BMI Rate Court Judge Louis Stanton’s devastating ruling against the DOJ’s bizarre position on “100% licensing”. Professor Steve Winogradsky and I summarized the results of the ruling in this post. Aside from the terrible legal […]

via How President Trump Can Give Songwriters and Publishers Immediate Relief from DOJ and LOC Overreach — Music Tech Solutions

Department of Justice Appeals 100% Licensing Ruling

Editor Charlie sez: Remember that the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division came up with a very Googley fairy tale about 100% licensing?  Remember how the DOJ lost that case in the BMI Rate Court?  

Now the U.S. government is appealing the case from the BMI Rate Court to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to try to stick it to songwriters even harder.

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-7-50-38-pm

@davidclowery: Electioneering Over, Songwriters No Longer Needed, Obama DOJ Gets Back to Suing Songwriters for Google

Obama like many political leaders has relied upon songwriters to shape his public persona and image.  But Obama has also allowed his antitrust division to relentlessly persecute songwriters in ways that benefit Silicon Valley firms that are among his largest campaign donors. 

Politicians, especially democratic politicians have always appealed to songwriters and performers for help campaigning and in shaping their images.  But once the election is over we never see anything in return. Not even a “thank you.”  But our long running abusive relationship with politicians seems to have hit a new low. It appears the Obama DOJ purposely waited until after all those celebrity/songwriter/performer campaign rallies were finished before they renewed their “100% licensing” legal crusade against songwriter non-profits BMI and ASCAP.

And I do mean “purposely waited.”  Let me explain.

Read the post on The Trichordist

 

Liberty Doesn’t Defend Itself: Complaint in SONA vs. Department of Justice — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

More to come, but here is a copy of the complaint in the Songwriters of North America, Michelle Lewis, Thomas Kelly and Pamela Sheyne case against the Department of Justice, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former Google lawyer Renata Hesse asking for declaratory relief on the DOJ’s violation of songwriter Constitutional rights with 100% licensing.

via Complaint in SONA vs. Department of Justice — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

Download SONA’s legal filing here.