[Maybe the DOJ should do the same with Congress–starting with ASCAP & BMI.]
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is on a process-reform roll. The chairman declared that henceforth the commissioner’s will vote on consent decrees, which are now at the discretion of the chief of the Enforcement Bureau and the chairman’s office. Consent decrees are generally entered into by parties that have been fined by the commission.
“One of the ways in which the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau resolves an investigation is by entering into a consent decree, in which the party being investigated agrees to comply with certain terms in exchange for the government closing its inquiry,” Pai said in an emailed statement.“But over the past few years, in cases in which the full commission has previously voted to propose and/or impose a forfeiture, such consent decrees have generally not been presented to the commissioners for a vote. Instead, they have simply been signed by the chief of the Enforcement Bureau at the direction of the chairman’s office. Indeed, many times, commissioners were barely given any notice of such consent decrees before they were publicly released by the Bureau.
“That abuse of process ends now. If commissioners vote to propose and/or impose a forfeiture, the Enforcement Bureau should not settle that matter without their approval.
Read the post on TV Technology
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata B. Hesse, a former Google lawyer, issued two key recommendations. The first is that any of the performance rights organizations PROs — ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC—must license 100% of a song for public performance no matter what percentage of the song the PRO legitimately represents. Historically, when songwriters collaborate who are signatories to different PROs (which has happened thousands of times to produce songs you love), the associated PROs co-manage the rights so that all parties receive royalties accordingly.
Read the post on The Illusion of More.
If you read nothing else, read this post from songwriter Kay Hanley:
We, the songwriters, went to the Department of Justice to ask for relief and protection through the modification of the consent decrees. We didn’t even ask that these antiquated relics to be shredded into the compost heap of the 20th century where it belongs. We asked for help. We explained our position. We implored them to make common sense modifications to the consent decrees that might help make our industry just a bit more nimble in a fast moving digital marketplace.
Apparently, the Department Of Justice did not feel moved. Because you want to know what they did instead? Instead, the DOJ’s Antitrust Division has inexplicably just made our plight significantly worse by distorting the language of the consent decrees to solve a problem that did not exist, bypassing decades-long industry practice by compelling ASCAP + BMI to issue licenses for fractions of songs they that they do not represent. This is known as 100% licensing and it is a nightmare for us, while paving a smoother, more carefree road for digital platforms to exploit our copyrights. They have done this despite our pleas, despite no monopolistic behavior on our side and thus, for seemingly for no good reason. No reason, that is, unless one considers that the head of Antitrust is Renata Hesse, former counsel for Google. And who is the primary beneficiary of this massive “FUCK YOU” to the songwriting profession? You guessed it: Google.
Read the post on WeAreSONA.