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#1127879 - 05/19/17 12:58 PM BMI - DOJ litigation info  
Joined: Aug 2006
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David Gill Offline
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David Gill  Offline
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Buffalo, NY
Received the following via email. Thought I'd share.


Dear BMI member,

As you know, BMI has been engaged in ongoing litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over its interpretation of our consent decree. Last summer, the DOJ wanted to implement a 100% licensing model, which BMI fought against in court and won. In a victory for the entire music industry, federal Judge Louis Stanton ruled that BMI is free to continue its longstanding practice of fractional licensing. We expected the DOJ to appeal that decision, and they did. Today, the DOJ moved that effort forward by filing a brief in support of its appeal.

We were ready for this development and are well prepared to once again fight on your behalf to protect your rights, royalties and creative freedom. The DOJ's action today is part of the standard appeals process and BMI's next step will be to file our response sometime before the fall. We expect this process to continue into 2018, and we will of course, keep you updated.

We believe Judge Stanton's decision is correct and will vigorously defend our position. However, please know that if we ultimately have to operate in a 100% licensing world, we will make it work on our end, without changing how you create music and conduct business. We just don't believe we should have to or that our consent decree requires us to.

Below is my statement to the press regarding today's brief:

While we are not surprised the DOJ chose to pursue its appeal, we still hope for the opportunity to sit down with the new administration and educate it about the chaos that would result in the marketplace if the DOJ's interpretation of BMI's consent decree were implemented. The DOJ's 100% licensing position, an entirely new interpretation never raised by the Department before, unfairly advantages music users at the expense of the American songwriter and upends a longstanding industry practice that has worked effectively for decades. We believe Judge Stanton's decision is correct and look forward to vigorously defending our position in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Mike O'Neill
BMI President & CEO


"Where there's a Gill, there's a way"
#1127880 - 05/19/17 01:22 PM Re: BMI - DOJ litigation info [Re: David Gill]  
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Dave Rice (D) Offline
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Hi David:

Thanks for sharing. Hats off to BMI for standing up to a bunch of career lawyers going out on a limb for some special interest party. I'm hoping the new administration will stop this kind of activity because Songwriters and Artists are being squeezed more with each passing day... and each new regulation designed to pick our already bare pockets.

If my memory is correct, ASCAP joined the suit or provided "friend of the defense" support.

Regards, ----Dave

#1127888 - 05/20/17 07:18 AM Re: BMI - DOJ litigation info [Re: David Gill]  
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Everett Adams Offline
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Everett Adams  Offline
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Not sure how this 100% licensing would work. Would it be forced upon writers, artist, publishers, etc.? confused

#1127890 - 05/20/17 11:13 AM Re: BMI - DOJ litigation info [Re: David Gill]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Everett,

Yes, it would be forced on everyone. One PRO would be licencing the song. Which would mean in places like Nashville, it would probably end co-writes between people of different PRO's. SESAC people would only write with SESAC people, ASCAP with ASCAP people, BMI with BMI people, etc. In places where there is only one PRO, it probably wouldn't have much affect Just another wrinkle in a business that is all running so perfectly. Just one more hurdle to deal with in a business that is nothing BUT hurdles.

MAB

Last edited by Marc Barnette; 05/20/17 11:15 AM.
#1127893 - 05/20/17 11:27 AM Re: BMI - DOJ litigation info [Re: David Gill]  
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Posts: 3,185
Sunset Poet Online content
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Sunset Poet  Online Content
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Houston, Texas
Does anyone know why the DOJ took and pursued the position that they did?

#1127922 - 05/21/17 09:51 PM Re: BMI - DOJ litigation info [Re: David Gill]  
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Dave Rice (D) Offline
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Dave Rice (D)  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,831
Texas
Hi Martin:

It began (along with a great deal of anti-songwriting stuff) during the previous administration. Even the Copyright Office had it's head replaced by someone not yet proven to be reliable or capable.

I don't know where all of this will end... but our current administration is being kept busy putting out fires being set by media unfriendly to Trump.
Politics seems to have become a really ugly thing.

----Dave

#1133849 - 12/20/17 11:57 AM Re: BMI - DOJ litigation info [Re: David Gill]  
Joined: Aug 2006
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David Gill Offline
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David Gill  Offline
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Buffalo, NY
UPDATE!! Good news!! WOO HOO!!


Dear BMI Affiliate,

I have incredible and important news to share as we head into the holidays. BMI has prevailed over the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and has won the consent decree battle.

Today, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled against the DOJ and affirmed BMI's consent decree victory. The Second Circuit agreed with Judge Louis L. Stanton's September 16, 2016 decision that the BMI consent decree allows for the practice of fractional licensing.

As you know, this has been a lengthy process during which BMI vigorously defended Judge Stanton's original ruling, which we maintained was the correct interpretation of our consent decree from the start. Today's decision means that BMI can continue to license as it always has - giving our licensees whatever interest (full-work or fractional) has been given to us by our affiliates. Other than the possibility of a request by the DOJ to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, acceptance of which by the Supreme Court is statistically highly unlikely, this brings this litigation to a close.

We are extremely proud to have achieved this win on your behalf and to have eliminated the chaos that would have ensued in the marketplace under a 100% licensing model. We thank you for your support throughout this process and we are sharply focused on our original goals of modernizing music licensing for the 21st century and ensuring fair compensation for the use of your creative works in today's marketplace.

Below is the press statement that was issued today:

"This is a massive victory for songwriters, composers, music publishers and the entire industry. We have said from the very beginning that BMI's consent decree allowed for fractional licensing, and we are incredibly gratified that Judge Stanton and the Second Circuit agreed with our position. We thank all the songwriters, composers, publishers and organizations who supported us throughout this process, which unfortunately, has been a nearly two-year distraction from our original intent which was to update our outdated consent decree and modernize music licensing. We look forward to our continued efforts to protect and grow the value of music."

Best regards,

Mike O'Neill
President & CEO
BMI


"Where there's a Gill, there's a way"
#1133860 - 12/20/17 06:09 PM Re: BMI - DOJ litigation info [Re: David Gill]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,831
Dave Rice (D) Offline
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Dave Rice (D)  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,831
Texas
Thanks for sharing this good news, David.

I'm a member of ASCAP but all of us associated with any PRO organization should be ecstatic about this decision. The value of music has been marginalized to the point that most of us cannot even dream of earning a living doing what we love, whether it be performing, writing, playing in the band or as a solo act... or anything associated with music creation. This little victory helps keep the door open a bit wider... and I am grateful.

Regards and Merry Christmas, ----Dave


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