Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has submitted a letter of opposition to the Dept. of Justice regarding its recent decision to change how performance rights organizations (PROs) are required to treat the licensing of some songs with multiple authors.
The controversial change, part of a two-year review of the consent decrees established in the early 1940s to govern the PROs (namely ASCAP and BMI), now requires those PROs to allow "100 percent licensing," which would give the partial owner of a song the ability to license the entire work to a user such as a streaming service, as long as they account for and pay the other songwriters.
In a letter dated Aug. 29 and addressed to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Abbott says that he feels compelled to weigh in on the controversy due to his position as head of the Texas Music Office. "The Texas Music Office is housed within my office and is charged by law with promoting the Texas music industry. As the head of that office, I must object to the DOJ’s position in these cases, which is both legally flawed and threatens to harm the music industry in Texas."