Court Keeps Radio Music Licensing Committee's Case Against SESAC Active
May 18, 2015 at 5:08 AM (PT)
SESAC's motion to dismiss the price-fixing case brought against it in 2012 by the RADIO MUSIC LICENSING COMMITTEE due to lack of jurisdiction was denied by U.S. District Court Judge C. DARNELL JONES III on APRIL 29th. The denial keeps the RMLC's suit over SESAC's rate setting procedures active, and both parties have asked the court to extend filing deadlines in the case by 60 days to allow for time to continue discovery and negotiate a resolution, towards which they jointly tell the court that they have "made significant progress."
The suit alleged that SESAC "is a cartel that has illegally monopolized an essential repertory of copyrighted music, that has quashed all competition with and among its 23.000 affiliates, and that uses its monopoly to coerce the U.S. radio industry and other consumers into paying SESAC supracompetitive prices." The RMLC added that SESAC unfairly threatens fines against broadcasters for broadcasting SESAC-controlled songs and will not sell non-blanket licenses. SESAC told the court it has agreed to rate arbitration and has begun to offer alternatives to the blanket licenses, but the court sided with the RMLC's contention that the details of the offer -- including two-year deals rather than the five-year deals for ASCAP and BMI -- did not resolve antitrust issues.