A Message from Beth Matthews to ASCAP's Songwriter, Composer & Publisher Members About the Recent DOJ Proposal

June 30, 2016

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Dear ASCAP Member,

This week, ASCAP and BMI met jointly with the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division to hear the government’s proposal regarding our respective consent decrees. As you may have read, the DOJ is recommending no updates to the consent decrees at this time and, instead, the DOJ believes that the consent decrees currently require that ASCAP and BMI license all songs in our respective repertories on a 100% basis, ending the long-standing industry practice of fractional share licensing. 

All of us at ASCAP 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. The US Copyright Office and numerous members of Congress voiced their opposition to 100% licensing as well. 

We want you to know that while the DOJ has expressed their views, this is not the final outcome of this process. ASCAP strongly disagrees with the DOJ's position, and we are carefully considering all of our options, including potential legislative and legal remedies. 

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. In the meantime, I 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. 

A​s 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.


Elizabeth Matthews