Whether you are someone that is just starting out, struggling to get your music heard or an accomplished music creator with an extensive catalogue, nothing we do is more important than advocating for your copyrights and the livelihood that they can provide. No other performing rights organization is advocating across such a comprehensive platform as ASCAP, from legislative efforts in Washington to copyright education in American schools. Additionally, we've brought a dozen legal actions with digital companies whose business models do not include fair payment for the use of your music.
You may see or read accounts of our legal actions from those arguing to limit your potential income. Not surprisingly, they misstate our efforts on your behalf. When it comes to the wireless carriers and ASCAP, here are the facts:
- ASCAP is in Federal Rate Court with the two largest U.S. wireless carriers. We are seeking to ensure that they pay you a share of the substantial revenue they derive from content using your music. This includes the delivery of full track songs, music videos, television content, ringtones and ringback tones.
- All this content generates revenue for the carriers, whether sold a la carte or on a subscription fee basis or bundled with voice, data and messaging services.
- With respect to ringtones, ASCAP seeks to license the wireless carriers' transmissions of your music. ASCAP is not seeking to charge consumers. In fact, ASCAP has been licensing wireless carriers and ringtone content providers since 2001. Now, the carriers want to avoid that payment.
- Wireless carriers make billions of dollars in a variety of ways from ringtones including per tone charges and multiple additional charges surrounding the transmission of ringtones. These billions are more than sufficient to cover a reasonable payment to ASCAP members and to allow the carriers an ample profit margin.
- Bottom line, we are striving to license those that make a business of transmitting your music. This holds true for any medium where businesses have been built on the back of your music, whether terrestrial broadcast, satellite, cable, Internet or wireless carriers providing audio and video content. To be completely clear, our approach has always been to license these businesses, not to charge listeners.
As ASCAP approaches the mid-point of 2009, we are gratified that more people choose membership in ASCAP than any other American performing rights organization. Nearly 100 new members are elected every day bringing our total membership to 360,000. Unlike the other U.S. performing rights organizations, we are a membership organization. As such, we have an obligation to represent all members in the pursuit of fair compensation for the use of their music.
From time to time we will provide you with updates on ASCAP's advocacy efforts. In the meantime, please visit ascap.com. We encourage you to help spread the truth when it comes to copyright and how it works to protect your livelihood.