Pandora Wins Case Brought By ASCAP
September 18, 2013 at 3:58 AM (PT)
PANDORA MEDIA prevailed in MANHATTAN federal court decision that rejected efforts by some music publishers to narrow a license that enables the largest U.S. Internet radio service to play their music. REUTERS reports, "U.S. District Judge DENISE COTE said an existing antitrust consent decree that requires the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS, AUTHORS & PUBLISHERS to license its works to PANDORA from 2011 to 2015 'unambiguously' covers all its works, even if publishers seek to 'withdraw' authority to license to 'new media' services."
"We're obviously gratified by the result," said PANDORA lawyer KENNETH STEINTHAL, a partner at KING & SPALDING in SAN FRANCISCO.
The case came about when publishers including EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING, SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING and UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUBLISHING withdrew or tried to withdraw new media licensing rights from ASCAP, allowing them to negotiate directly with Internet radio services.
COTE ruled, "ASCAP argues that 'ASCAP repertory' refers only to the rights in music works that ASCAP has been granted by its members as of a particular moment in time. PANDORA argues that 'ASCAP repertory' is a defined term articulated in terms of 'works' or 'compositions,' as opposed to in terms of a gerrymandered parcel of 'rights.' PANDORA is correct."
ASCAP CEO JOHN LOFRUMENTO said in a statement, "The court's decision to grant summary judgment on this matter has no impact on our fundamental position in this case that songwriters deserve fair pay for their hard work, an issue that the court has not yet decided."