SESAC, TV Stations Ask Judge To Accelerate Approval Of $58.5 Million Settlement
January 29, 2015 at 3:55 AM (PT)
The end appears to be near in a lawsuit by TV station groups MEREDITH CORP. and SCRIPPS MEDIA against SESAC over the fees charged for the playing of music in syndicated TV shows, as THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reports that the performance rights organization and broadcasters have asked U.S. District Judge PAUL ENGELMAYER to move up a hearing from MARCH 13th to accelerate final approval of the $58.5 million settlement reached last SUMMER.
In the suit, MEREDITH and SCRIPPS complained that SESAC required stations to sign "all-or-nothing blanket licenses" just to clear a few songs, and that the lack of alternative puts stations in the position of having to pay for music they don't use or risk getting sued. ASCAP and BMI are restricted from doing the same by consent decrees with the Department of Justice, but SESAC is not subject to those restrictions.
The parties announced a settlement last year after five years of litigation, with SESAC agreeing to pay $58.5 million (including $16 million in attorney's fees and costs) and to offer non-blanket licenses, allow composers and publishers to negotiate directly with stations, and to submit to arbitration in license fee disputes.