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Yesterday Public Knowledge filed comments with the Department of Justice on the antitrust consent decrees governing the performing rights organizations (PROs) ASCAP and BMI. The consent decrees, last updated in 2001 and 1994, respectively, require ASCAP and BMI to issue reasonable licenses without discriminating between various companies and services.
The following can be attributed to Jodie Griffin, Senior Staff Attorney:
"The consent decrees have allowed music composition licensing to be more efficient while protecting against anticompetitive behavior. They have been an important mechanism in encouraging the development of new legal music services, especially online.
"If we look to the publishers' attempt to withdraw some of their rights from the PROs, we can see how the publishers have the incentive and ability to coordinate instead of compete. Similarly, in negotiations for sound recording licenses with record labels that do not operate under consent decrees, we have seen how market consolidation can lead to the largest rightsholders leveraging their market power against new services, independent artists, and consumers. The Department of Justice should now ensure the consent decrees continue to protect competition in the music licensing market."
Public Knowledge's comments are linked here.