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About the Department of Justice’s Proposal on 100% Licensing
After a formal review process that’s taken more than two years, the DOJ recently informed songwriters that at this time it will not consider our requests to modernize and update the consent decrees.
Instead, the DOJ has proposed new requirements that would force ASCAP and BMI to license all songs in their respective repertoires on a 100% basis, ending the long-standing industry practice of fractional share licensing. This is regardless of the percentage actually owned by ASCAP’s writer and publisher members and BMI’s affiliates.
We are deeply disappointed by the DOJ’s proposal – especially given that thousands of ASCAP members wrote to the DOJ expressing serious concerns about 100% licensing and how it would impact songwriters' livelihoods and creative freedom. In addition to ASCAP’s letter to the DOJ making the argument against 100% licensing, the US Copyright Office and numerous members of Congress voiced their opposition as well.
The DOJ is expected to announce their final decisions publicly by the end of July, but this is not the final outcome of this process.
ASCAP is still carefully considering all of our options, including potential legislative and legal remedies. We are also working closely with the entire songwriting and publishing community to work toward the best path forward.
It’s important to emphasize that we’ve also planned ahead for the possibility that such an ill-advised proposal could be enforced. Under the leadership of our new management team and with the support of our writer-publisher Board, ASCAP has made strategic investments in modernizing our operations and our systems in ways that will enable us to continue to lead and deliver results for our members, no matter what the future looks like.
We want to reassure you that this in no way changes your ASCAP membership or ASCAP's commitment to protect, support and advocate for you and the value of your musical compositions. We know that you may have questions and concerns and we hope to have more answers and clarity to share in the coming weeks as we work through this process with the DOJ.
As the only member-owned and run performing rights organization in the US, we are deeply committed to ensuring the health of our community – our songwriter, composer and publisher members. You are the heart and soul of ASCAP and the very foundation of the music industry. As ASCAP has always done, we will keep fighting to preserve your rights.