Global Music Rights litigation update
Global Music Rights (GMR) is a relatively new group representing songwriters in licensing their copyrighted music, much like ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. GMR has signed agreements to represent numerous artists including Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams, some of the Beatles, Eddie Vedder, and Drake. Most radio formats are therefore impacted by GMR’s widespread representation of artists. A list of artists is available here, although it should not be viewed as comprehensive.
About a year ago, the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC), which is the organization that represents most commercial radio stations in the US in negotiating music license agreements, sued GMR on antitrust grounds. That litigation is ongoing, and could be a lengthy proceeding. Among the issues that GMR and RMLC are litigating is which court (in California or Pennsylvania) should appropriately hear the case. In the meantime, GMR and RMLC have agreed to an interim licensing arrangement and interim rate that stations may opt into. The current rate is valid through March 31, 2018 (see here). Stations can contact RMLC for details, Tel: (615) 844-6260.
Although stations should consult the advice of their individual counsel, in general a station that plays music that may be in the GMR library probably needs to opt-in to the interim licensing arrangement pending the results of the litigation, because the GMR library of music is so extensive. Unless a station is all-talk or a niche programming service, the station likely has GMR music in its playlists. Stations that do not pay GMR through an interim licensing arrangement run the risk of violating copyright laws, and the penalties for such violations can be significant.
More details will be coming. You can follow www.broadcastlawblog.com for further information.