August 07, 2014

ASCAP Submits Comments to Department of Justice for Consent Decree Review


New York, NY - ASCAP President and Chairman and songwriter Paul Williams issued the following statement regarding ASCAP’s submission of public comments this week, as part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees: 

“ASCAP supports the ongoing consent decree review process at the Department of Justice, and we welcome the opportunity to update our music licensing system to better reflect how people listen to music today. These issues are both urgent and complex, and the volume of comments submitted speaks to that. Everyone agrees that the music landscape has shifted dramatically. Songwriters understand that their futures are at stake and that updating the consent decrees is critical for them.  Some music users have found ways to exploit this outdated system. And not surprisingly, they are among the first to defend that status quo. At the end of the day, ASCAP believes the U.S. must modernize music licensing in order to preserve the benefits of collective licensing to businesses that license music, give consumers greater access to the music they love, and allow the more than 500,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers we represent to be compensated for the true value their music brings to the marketplace."

ASCAP’s submission to the DOJ outlines three critical updates to the consent decree that we believe will make the system work more efficiently and effectively for music creators, licensees and listeners in the digital age:

  • Allowing ASCAP to accept a limited grant of rights from its members, meaning ASCAP is able to license certain uses while the rights holders handle others directly. Allowing greater flexibility is necessary to hold the system together.
  • Replacing rate court with a faster, cheaper dispute resolution process.
  • Permitting ASCAP to offer all the rights in a music composition a licensee needs to operate their business – something that ASCAP’s competitors are already free to do.

Read the full text of ASCAP's public comments regarding the review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With 690,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.