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Music-Licensing Reform

Wednesday, May 16, 2018   (0 Comments)
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The NRA is working to protect the ability of our members to entertain their guests through music, and preserve a functional marketplace that enables millions of businesses across the country to efficiently play and pay for publicly performed songs.

Today, they signed on to a coalition letter urging the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to maintain the “consent decrees” that govern the two largest performance rights organizations (PROs): the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). Essentially, the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees require that each PRO grant performance-right licenses to play music on a non-discriminatory basis and at fair prices.

Due to recent comments by an Assistant Attorney General at the DOJ, the NRA has reason to believe that these consent decrees may soon be terminated. Such an action would exacerbate an already difficult and expensive music licensing system that restaurateurs already have difficulty navigating to simply play music for their guests.

They agree with the DOJ that Congress should enact reforms to update the current music-licensing process. In fact, NRA is meeting with U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (IL) this week to discuss legislation that will make music licensing more transparent for our members. However, if the DOJ simply abandoned the use of consent decrees before an alternative framework has been implemented, this could force many restaurateurs to stop playing music altogether or lead to steep fines for copyright infringement.

NRA plans to meet again with the DOJ to discuss the importance of preserving the consent decrees, and will continue engaging with Congress to develop a more transparent and fair music-licensing system. 

 


 

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