ASCAP, Webcasters Battle Over 'Public Performances'
March 1, 2007 at 12:24 PM (PT)
The AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS, AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS (ASCAP) yesterday filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NEW YORK, asking the court to confirm that all Internet transmissions of musical works to the public are "public performances." Essentially, ASCAP wants all digital streams and downloads to be be subject to licensing by the creators and copyright owners of those works, through organizations, like ASCAP, that represent them -- and therefore subject to an additional license and royalty fees.
We strongly believe that our members are entitled to be compensated for all Internet transmissions of their music to the public.
"The emergence of the digital world is dramatically reshaping the way music is purchased and enjoyed," said ASCAP CEO JOHN LoFRUMENTO. "We strongly believe that our members are entitled to be compensated for all Internet transmissions of their music to the public -- including the public performance that is an essential part of a music download."
Meanwhile, the DIGITAL MEDIA ASSOCIATION (DiMA), whose members include webcasters AOL, MICROSOFT, YAHOO! and APPLE's iTUNES store, has filed a "friend of the court" brief opposing ASCAP's claim. The CONSUMER ELECTRONICS ASSOCIATAION and NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RECORDING MERCHANDISERS also signed the brief.
"ASCAP's assertion in federal court that digital distributions of music and video are also public performances confounds legal, business and technological reality," said DiMA Exec. Director JONATHAN POTTER.