In the last five years, the National Music Publishers Assn. invested $39 million on legal fees and litigation to protect songwriters and music publishers’ copyrights and as a result of those efforts the music publishing community has received back $506 million.

That return on investment, which equals more than 1003%, was one of the things noted by NMPA CEO David Israelite in his address at the organization's annual convention, held at the Marriott Marquis in New York on June 16.

"Every single legal action that has been undertaken taken by NMPA since 2005 has concluded successfully; every single one," Israelite said. "This is from Napster, to Streamcast to Grokster to XM to Sirius to the lyric sites we sued to the hundreds of other lyric, tablature and sheet music sites that we have shut down; to the [Copyright Royalty Board] proceeding - every single one has concluded either with a judgment or a settlement on terms favorable to
the music publishing industry."

As part of the CRB victory, a late fee was established for the first time in the 100 years of the compulsory license, which resulted in a settlement with the recording industry over hundreds of millions of dollars that had been sitting in pending and unmatched accounts with record labels.

So far, 2,566 publishers have registered with special master Kenneth Feinberg, who is overseeing the disbursement of the settlement. Phase one, which covers from year 2000 to 2006, is for $165 million; Phase two covering 2007 and 2008 is for a sum that could be up to $105 million.

In addition to those who registered, another 90 or so publishers, have entered late, and are being considered by Feinberg for late entry into the program.

"To date 478 of those publishers have opted in to the program and many have already received checks," Israelite said.

During his speech Israelite also announced that eight NMPA members have initiated a lawsuit against Limewire. "The eight are not only doing it on behalf of their own companies but they are doing it on behalf of the entire music publishing industry." Israelite said.

"You may ask, 'Why now?' The reason why NMPA felt that it had to file its own suit is because despite the four major record labels and their success in this program, there are 2,540 members of the NMPA who are not represented in the lawsuit. The damages that have occurred due to infringement of your copyrights and the discussions about the future of this company we need to be at the table and that's why the suit was filed today."