WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) — The Department of
Justice announced it has concluded looking into the proposed modifications
to antitrust decrees binding the American Society of Composers, Authors and
Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. The department has decided no
modifications are needed at this time.
ASCAP and BMI had asked the Antitrust Division of the department to join them in proposing modifications to court-ordered consent
decrees. Following this, the division met with key stakeholders and received
input from industry participants and members of the public through public
comment solicitations. It considered all this when making its decision.
ASCAP and BMI are both performing rights organizations that
license rights in compositions held by their many members in the songwriting
and publishing fields. The United States first brought consent decrees against
the organizations in 1941 to prevent anti-competitive effects arising from
collective licensing of music performance rights. Periodically, the U.S. will modify the consent decrees. The ASCAP decree was last amended in 2001
while the BMI decree was last amended in 1994.