ASCAP: New Pandora rate 'below market price, threatens future of members'

Tom Pakinkis

ASCAP has appealed a rate court ruling passed in March that gave Pandora an annual license rate of 1.85% of its revenue.

The ruling was slammed by Sony/ATV CEO Martin Bandier at the time as "a clear defeat for songwriters".

The same ruling also dictated that publishers could not withdraw their digital rights from the PRO with a view to doing direct deals with the likes of Pandora, saying that ASCAP’s members had to be “all in or all out”.

ASCAP has said that the rate given to Pandora is below market value and threatens the future of its members.

"ASCAP believes that the district court’s summary judgment misinterprets the ASCAP consent decree and deprives ASCAP’s members of rights expressly granted to them by the copyright law," said a statement from the PRO. "With respect to the district court’s rate determination, ASCAP’s brief argues that the court set a below-market price for Pandora’s license, resulting from the court’s failure to use recent direct licensing deals as relevant benchmarks.

"We believe the district court’s decisions threaten the very future for all of ASCAP’s members, and that's why we're appealing this decision and leading this fight on their behalf."

ASCAP rival BMI yesterday submitted recommendations for the rapid modernisation of its own consent decree to the US Department of Justice. One of its key suggestions was that publishers should be able to withdraw their digital rights in isolation.


Tags: Publishing, ASCAP

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