By: David Oxenford,
Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP
In a press release issued today (2/7), the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and performing rights organization Global Music Rights (GMR) announced that enough commercial radio stations signed the GMR licensing agreement to allow the settlement of the RMLC/GMR litigation to become effective. As we wrote when the settlement was announced early last month, enough radio stations to satisfy GMR that its disputes with the radio industry would be resolved had to sign the licensing agreement to make the settlement effective – otherwise the litigation would continue. Apparently, that threshold number was met, and the settlement is now effective.
As we wrote earlier, commercial radio stations had few options with respect to the settlement. Either they signed it, tried to negotiate their own settlements, or had to stop playing GMR music which, in many formats, is a difficult if not impossible task given the songwriters that GMR has signed who have full or partial copyrights in a wide variety of popular music (see our article here about how even a partial interest in a song’s copyright, what is referred to as a “fractional interest,” can give a performing rights organization – a PRO – like GMR the ability to demand licensing fees when that song is performed publicly, including when it is broadcast on a radio station; see the GMR catalog of songwriters here). As the GMR agreement is now effective, stations that can’t pull all GMR music from their stations or otherwise reach a licensing agreement have one last chance to accept the agreement. GMR has agreed to give stations until March 31 to sign the agreement or they will no longer have rights to play any of the music in which its songwriters have an interest. Consult your attorneys and advisors now if you have not already signed the GMR agreement.
David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline. Access information here. (Members only access). There are no additional costs for the call; the advice is free as part of your MAB membership.