As the Justice Department continues to review a 75-year-old consent decree that rules over the public performance of song compositions, it has announced that licensor ASCAP has agreed to changes to resolve an investigation into whether the performing rights organization was violating the old consent decree. Additionally, ASCAP will be making a $1.75 million payment, although it is not admitting any wrongdoing.
The DOJ launched its probe in the midst of ASCAP's rate-setting proceeding with Pandora.
Pandora was entitled to this rate-setting proceeding thanks to a 1941 consent decree that settled an antitrust lawsuit brought by the government alleging monopolization of performance rights licenses. The consent decree requires a license for song performance rights be given whenever an outlet requests it, but song publishers attempted to withdraw new-media rights from ASCAP in order to negotiate directly with Pandora. That led to a court fight, and in 2013, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote determined that that the consent decree required Pandora be given a license to stream despite the move from ASCAP's publisher members.
Judge will decide soon
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