ASCAP Files Appeal Against Rate Court Decision
Sony/ATV and Universal Music Publishing Group plan to follow suit.
ASCAP has filed an appeal to the Pandora rate court ruling that set its annual licensing rate at 1.85% of revenue from the music streaming service and prevents individual music publishers from partially withdrawing its rights from the blanket license.
The appeal was filed in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York; and in response to Judge Denise Kote's decision in March that set the rate and her ruling on a motion in September 2013 on the consent decree where she basically decided that music publishers had to be "all-in or all-out" of ASCAP. In addition to ASCAP, Sony/ATV Music Publishing has also publicly said it is appealing the initial decision. Other sources say that Universal Music Publishing Group will appeal as well.
"ASCAP believes that the district court’s summary judgment misinterprets the ASCAP consent decree and deprives ASCAP’s members of rights expressly granted to them by the copyright law," the PRO said in a statement. "With respect to the district court’s rate determination, ASCAP’s brief argues that the court set a below-market price for Pandora’s license, resulting from the court’s failure to use recent direct licensing deals as relevant benchmarks."
Furthermore, the PRO said that the decision leaves songwriters with below market rates and could undermine the blanket licensing structure that benefits both songwriters, music publishers and music users.
"We believe the district court’s decisions threaten the very future for all of ASCAP’s members, and that's why we're appealing this decision and leading this fight on their behalf," said ASCAP executive vp and general counsel Elizabeth Matthews in a statement.