Home > Uncategorized > Hotel California Meets The Trial: Pandora “Wins” Against Songwriters and Franz Kafka is So Happy About It, Part 1

Hotel California Meets The Trial: Pandora “Wins” Against Songwriters and Franz Kafka is So Happy About It, Part 1

December 22, 2013

After the BMI rate court decision, another good reason to get the government out of the songwriting business

MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

They’re talking about things of which they don’t have the slightest understanding, anyway.

Franz Kafka, The Trial

The purpose of antitrust consent decrees is to prevent monopoly behavior that is harmful–a classic definition would be behavior that would allow a monopolist to restrict output and increase price in a relevant market.  For historical reasons that make less sense every day given the democratization of the Internet, U.S. performing rights organizations that are authorized by songwriters to represent their repertoire for the public performance right have been forced to operate under an antitrust consent decree with the U.S. Government, at least in the case of ASCAP and BMI.  This means that a federal judge retains jurisdiction over the licensing practices of these PROs and dictates to songwriters what they can charge for public performance.  And now the rate court seems to trump the clear intention of Congress as expressed in the…

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