“All Means All”: Music Publishers Cannot Withdraw Their Digital Catalog from PROs
On September 18th, the ASCAP Federal rate court served a victory to Pandora against music publishers who withdrew new media licensing rights from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) repertory. Judge Cote of the Southern District of New York granted Pandora summary judgment, ruling that the internet radio company’s right to perform compositions in the ASCAP repertory extends to the entire repertory and ASCAP cannot deny it the right to play songs from certain publishers. In the past two years, large music publishers, such as Sony and EMI, have withdrawn their new media licensing rights from the ASCAP repertory in order to negotiate higher songwriter royalty rates on their own. This has forced Pandora to negotiate higher rates with each publisher separately instead of obtaining one license through ASCAP. The court agreed with Pandora that “all means all” and Pandora is entitled to license all the songs by ASCAP’s 470,000 members. The rate Pandora will pay for these songs will be determined at the December 4th rate trial.