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.
The recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Justice in the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees sent everyone scratching their heads as to what do we do now? The authors provide a helpful chart for songwriters, motion picture and television producers and other music users to see how bad it really is.
Follow Ghost Town Troubadors on Twitter @ghosttowntroubs and visit their website at www.ghosttowntroubadors.com (h/t to David Lowery for the link)
The group is comprised of four hit songwriters who, while talented musicians in their own right, have spent much of their careers writing for other artists.
Their two-week tour from Nashville, Tennessee to Los Angeles comes amidst a major shakeup in the music industry as it shifts from selling songs to streaming them.
That new business model has created many issues when it comes to licensing music and how artists and songwriters get paid.
Because of this, the United States’ two main performing rights organizations, BMI and ASCAP, requested that the Department of Justice (DOJ) change parts of a consent decree that was first issued in 1941.
The two-year review ended on Aug. 4, with the DOJ denying the request.
The ruling was a blow to songwriters, who receive fractions of a penny each time one of their songs is played through a streaming service such as Pandora or Spotify.
“We’re the only trade industry in America that’s governed. Our rate is set by the government,” said Aaron Benward, a songwriter and member of the Ghost Town Troubadours.
The Troubadours, which include Benward, Danny Myrick, Regie Hamm and Travis Howard, decided to do something about it, embarking on a two-week tour, stopping at a city each night to play a show. Their mission was to share not only their music, but also their stories.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has formally asked the Department of Justice to reconsider its recent decision regarding consent decrees and fractional licensing.
In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch dated Aug. 29, Gov. Abbott wrote to express his disagreement.
He wrote, in part, “The Texas Music Office is housed within my office and is charged by law with promoting the Texas music industry. As the head of that office, I must object to the DOJ’s position in these cases, which is both legally flawed and threatens to harm the music industry in Texas. I respectfully request that the DOJ reconsider its position.”
With so many unhappy with the Department of Justice‘s recent alteration to the Performing Rights Organization licensing model, Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently sent a letter to Attorney General Lynch urging reconsideration of the decision.