Archive for the ‘DOJ’s New 100% Licensing Rule’ Category

@sisario: Songwriters Sue Justice Department Over Licensing Rules — Artist Rights Watch

September 13, 2016 Comments off

On Tuesday, [Michelle Lewis, Kay Hanley] and Songwriters of North America, an advocacy group she helped found a year ago, sued the Justice Department, saying that the agency overstepped its authority and that its ruling violated the property rights of songwriters by potentially nullifying private contracts between writers who have worked on the same song. The suit is the latest step in an extensive campaign by the music industry to fight the ruling, but it is the first organized response by songwriters.

via @sisario: Songwriters Sue Justice Department Over Licensing Rules — Artist Rights Watch

The MTP Podcast: Michelle Lewis and Kay Hanley of SONA and David Lowery on DOJ’s “Union Busting” Gambit Against Songwriters

August 17, 2016 1 comment

In an explosive conversation, Michelle Lewis and Kay Hanley talk with David Lowery and Chris Castle about Songwriters of North America, their experiences with lawyers from the Department of Justice Antitrust Division in the lead-up to the DOJ’s decision on “100% licensing,” and disingenuous behavior by the government’s lawyers that crossed the line into “union busting.”

Michelle and Kay

Michelle Lewis and Kay Hanley

—in an ex parte communication, Antitrust Division Section Chief David C. Kully advised a witness in an ongoing Justice Department inquiry to withdraw from ASCAP as a solution to 100% licensing, knowing she was represented by counsel.

—Justice Department lawyers chose to conduct meetings and telephonic communications with songwriters in which DOJ lawyers read aloud from proposed text of their 100% licensing statement in an effort to build a false consensus among songwriters and refused to provide a written draft of the statement for public comment.


—At the direction of former Google lawyer and DOJ official Renata B. Hesse, the lawyers also told SONA members that no transcripts existed of these telephonic communications.  If true, it is highly unusual for the Justice Department to engage in such contacts with interested parties without preserving a record of such meetings to be made available to the public and preserved as customary federal record keeping.  The lawyers’ statement is more likely another lie or obfuscation.



Show notes:

Links to documents we discuss on the MTP Podcast with Michelle Lewis, Kay Haneley, David Lowery on the DOJ’s new policy on 100% licensing.

Songwriters of North America Website


The Trichordist


Podcast theme from “March of the Billionaires” written by Davey Faragher, Johnny Hickman, David Lowery & Michael Urbano, performed by Cracker from their 2014 album, Berkeley to Bakersfield used courtesy of Cracker.

Doc McStuffins

Department of Justice Statement on 100% Licensing

MIC Coalition Letter to DOJ Lawyer Renata Hesse

BMI’s Premotion Letter to Judge Stanton re Obama Justice Department Ruling on 100% Licensing

The Obama Administration Is Lame Ducking An Unworkable Burden on Songwriters: 4 Reasons Why It’s Bad Law by Chris Castle (Huffington Post)

Guest Post by Stephen Carlisle: ASCAP and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DOJ Decision That’s Going to Create Chaos in the Music Industry

MusicTechPolicy Podcasts on SoundCloud

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DOJ Engages Completely Juvenile Argument Against Copyright Office in Defense of Corrupt 100% Licensing Rule — The Trichordist — Artist Rights Watch

August 11, 2016 Comments off

Can’t you hear the pitch for the new DOJ reality show “Decrees of Consent”? “It’s Silicon Valley meets The Paper Chase” but on a “House of Cards” level….

via DOJ Engages Completely Juvenile Argument Against Copyright Office in Defense of Corrupt 100% Licensing Rule — The Trichordist — Artist Rights Watch

The MTP Podcast: The Consequences of DOJ’s New Rule on 100% Licensing with David Lowery, Steve Winogradsky and Chris Castle

August 10, 2016 1 comment

David Lowery, Steve Winogradsky and Chris Castle discuss the implications of the new rule by the U.S. Department of Justice re-interpreting the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees to require 100% licensing and prohibiting partial withdrawal.

David Lowery is the founder of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven, leading artist rights advocate and writer of The Trichordist blog, and teaches at the Terry School of Business at the University of Georgia at Athens.

Steve Winogradsky is a senior music lawyer and co-proprietor of the music services company Winogradsky/Sobel in Los Angeles.  Steve teaches at UCLA and Cal State Northridge and is the author of a leading legal handbook Music Publishing: The Complete Guide.

Chris Castle is founder of Christian L. Castle, Attorneys in Austin, Texas and edits the MusicTechPolicy blog.  He is formerly an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law, and lectures at law schools, music schools and business schools in the U.S. and Canada.

“Where’d You Get the Music” performed by Guy Forsyth.

Subscribe to the MTP Podcasts on iTunes.

Topics Covered:

–The DOJ’s new rule in the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees.  Background link to DOJ statement and link to BMI’s “pre-motion” letter to BMI rate court judge outlining BMI’s objections to new DOJ rule.

–Will songwriters have to indemnify PROs for antitrust violations of failing to renegotiate licenses?

–Who bears the administrative costs?

–How DOJ’s new rule is actually anticompetitive and anticompetitive aspects of direct licensing.

–Is DOJ rule Google’s payback to Pharrell Williams refusing to license for YouTube?

–Devastating impact on music in television programs and motion pictures, “WKRP revisited”

–Google’s influence on the new rule through Renata B. Hesse, the new head of the Antitrust Division.  Background link: How Google Took Over the Justice Department Antitrust Division: Renata Hesse’s Timeline

–What is the plain English version of the new rule?

–How U.S. Copyright Office rejected DOJ’s position.  Background link to Copyright Office report rejecting DOJ’s position.

–DOJ requirement that songwriters renegotiate split agreements on every song registered with ASCAP and BMI

–Genre-based impact on hip hop and country music.


Next up:  Michelle Lewis and Kay Hanley of Songwriters of North America and David Lowery discuss DOJ ruling from songwriter’s perspective with Chris Castle.

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