ASCAP Court Rules for Pandora: Music Publishers Cannot Partially Withdraw Songs From ASCAP Catalog for Only Certain Users

Judge using his gavel In a major victory for Pandora (and all other digital music services), the ASCAP Rate Court has ruled this evening that ASCAP’s recent changes to its governing rules, which purported to allow music publisher members to selectively withdraw their catalogs from the ASCAP repertory for certain digital music services while keeping the songs in the repertory for other licensees (such as broadcasters, bars and restaurants), violated the ASCAP consent decree and therefore any purported withdrawals were ineffective.

This whole mess started a couple of years ago.  After a series of losses in the ASCAP and BMI Rate Courts (in cases where ASCAP and BMI sought outrageously high royalty rates and were rebuffed by the Courts), various ASCAP members wanted to find a way out from the scrutiny provided by the Rate Courts.  [Read more…]

Fakler quoted in Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish

This is fun.  One of my quotes on the ways in which record companies abuse recording artists was picked up and highlighted in Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish.

Fakler Quoted in Buzzfeed Article on Record Company Hostage-Taking

Music

I was quoted in a Buzzfeed article published yesterday.  The article deals with the problems that sometime occur when a record label loses interest in an artist and refuses to release his or her new recordings.

photo by: Douglas Heriot

Fakler Speaking On Copyright Royalty Rate Litigation At NARM Conference

Copyright symbol largeI will be speaking on copyright royalty rate litigation at NARM’s Entertainment & Technology Law Conference this week, discussing the intricacies of litigating before the Copyright Royalty Board and the ASCAP and BMI rate courts.  For those interested in rate-setting litigation, it should be an excellent panel, with Jonathan Potter moderating.  Ken Steinthal and I will be speaking from the music service / licensee perspective, and Lucy Holmes Plovnick speaking from the copyright owner perspective.

There will also be other interesting panels, covering copyright, trademark/domain name and right of publicity issues of topical interest.  The conference will be held this Thursday, February 28, 2013, from 1:00 to 5:30 pm.  Here is a link for more information: http://digitalmusic.org/events/new-york-entertainment-technology-law-conference-2/

 

Macho Man Songwriter Wins Termination Case

Village People songwriter, lead singer and ersatz police officer, Victor Willis, has prevailed in a lawsuit challenging his termination of assignment (and resulting recapture) of copyright to his many hit songs.  To be honest, the decision is very straightforward and there really were not any difficult issues presented, particularly because the music publisher withdrew its claim that the songs were works made for hire (which would have rendered any attempt to terminate ineffective).  The only argument advanced by the publisher was that Mr. Willis could not terminate his assignment because he was only one of several joint authors of the assigned songs.

This argument was frivolous, however, because [Read more…]