BMI Appeals Ruling That Lets Venues Route Around BMI, Claiming It Somehow Harms Musicians

from the uh,-what-now? dept

At the end of July, we wrote about a court ruling that DMX, a commercial provider of music (a la muzak) to restaurants, bars and the like, had won a lawsuit, which would allow it to deduct money from the blanket license it had to pay collection society BMI if it did licensing deals directly with BMI artists. Not surprisingly, BMI is none too happy about this ruling and it has appealed it. What I find fascinating, of course, is how BMI tries to spin this:

“On behalf of our songwriters, composers and music publishers, we will not allow this ruling to stand without an appeal,” said Del Bryant, BMI President & CEO. “Our writers and publishers should not be expected to lose more than half of their income from DMX based on the court?s erroneous holdings, which substantially reduce the value of their creative efforts.”

But that makes no sense. If the writers and publishers made significantly less with DMX, why would they enter into a separate agreement with DMX? The “problem” would solve itself because no BMI covered artists would sign a direct deal with DMX.

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Companies: bmi, dmx

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Comments on “BMI Appeals Ruling That Lets Venues Route Around BMI, Claiming It Somehow Harms Musicians”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:


“Our writers and publishers should not be expected to lose more than half of their income from DMX based on the court’s erroneous holdings, which substantially reduce the value of their creative efforts.”

Ya’ll goin’ make us lose our cash! Up in here, up in here! (WHAT!)
Ya’ll goin’ make us go out of business! Up in here, up in here! (Ungh!)
Ya’ll goin’ prove us to be fools! Up in here, up in here! (C’mon!)
Ya’ll goin’ make us look like tools! Up in here, up in here! (Grrrrrr!)

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Neat posting …

“how the copyright industry lacks the ability to compete in a free and open market.”

“People like McGuinness think this way because they don’t understand how businesses or markets work. And because they know of no other way.”

I do so love the delaying action they are fighting trying to prevent the inevitable actuality of them having to leave “their copyright” and live in “our reality”.

Tic, Toc, Tic, Toc …

gilroy0 (profile) says:

It all makes sense in context.

It’s very simple. When your business model depends on enticing artists into making deals insanely not in their favor, you have to assume that -everyone else-‘s business model works the same way. So artists would sign with DMX because they wouldn’t understand that they’d be making less, because DMX would cook the books to obscure how much money is being siphoned away by a generally-useless middleman.

You know — just like BMI does now.

Boost says:

Death to SCABS!!!

We see these same kind of tactics in other industries. Major industry labor unions use this same kind of language all the time to convince laborers and politicians that they are somehow better off accepting the crushing grip of the labor union for representation. Yet, you’ll note, the areas of the country with the largest population growth are “right to work” states that allow the individual workers to determine what’s best for them.

Perhaps not so ironically, the same kind of tactics used by the major labor unions are employed by the mafia too. Coincidence?

Jeremy7600 (profile) says:

I think BMI’s bitch is about the $25 per location charge from DMX being 1/3 of the $77 per location BMI is charging. Of course, this is what the VENUES are charged, not what the ARTISTS are paid.

This is where the disconnect is for BMI. Mike is correct in asserting that if the artists really were getting paid less from DMX, they wouldn’t be cutting deals with DMX in the first place. They are just able to cut a better deal for the venues AND the artists, and BMI’s panties are in a bunch over it.

Too. Fucking. Bad.

Anonymous Coward says:

False Pretenses

When BMI collects money for artists who are not their members, isn’t that fraud? From Wikipedia: “False pretenses or obtaining property by false pretenses is when a person obtains property by intentionally misrepresenting a past or existing fact.” If some premises chooses to play only music from known non-members of BMI, they can decline to pay BMI anything. If BMI then tries to push it, they get prosecuted for fraud.

tamouse (user link) says:

Yet another story of greed encompassing any real sense of reality.

The stories about repeated abuses of the intellectual property rights fundamenalists never seems to abate. Arguers for such things never seem to realize the realities here. IP rights enforcement has done much more harm than good for society. We really need to revamp these areas of law for the good of society, which is what they were originally intended for.

It’s just ridiculous. I get paid for my work. Once. Not over and over again after I’ve long finished it. That’s the way it should be. I don’t expect long term rents to sustain me on things I’ve done years and years ago. If I don’t continue to produce, I shouldn’t get paid. Simple as that. Hopefully, by the time I retire, I’ll have saved enough to sustain me.

ISPs should take a much more active role in preserving the rights of their customers. Rather than immediately cave in and take down whole web sites, they should act in a much more rational manner and let the web site owner know that they may be infringing and allow them to react to that. In cases like youtube, where the individual infringer may be hard to contact, there are still better recourses than simply removing content the instant a take-down request comes in. Actually taking some time to look at whether it is fair use is something the ISPs/site owners could do to ensure fair dealing with everyone. Just because someone says something is infringing doesn’t mean that it is.

IP has just gotten out of control, and there seems to be no abating it. People seem to have this sense of entitlement to anything they can think of or produce. Art has never been about the product, but about the process, the performance. Even though a performance may be captured in a tangible and transmittable form, it doesn’t mean the artist is actually doing anything to earn that credit past the time of the actual performance. I *do* believe people should get paid for their efforts, but it’s not a guarantee that people *will* be paid. Their work must have merit and value to the receiver in order for that to happen.

Obtaining music free over the Internet is not as big a deal as some might think it is. I know the RIAA likes to count each download as a lost sale, but the reality is that that isn’t the case. And, as has been pointed out here many times, the biggest downloaders and also the biggest purchasers. It makes sense, those enthusiastic about something will obtain it in many different ways.

The Internet is disruptive technology to be sure, but it’s been with us for decades now. It’s about time businesses affected by it learn to work with it and exploit it’s properties. Yes, it means adopting new business models, never an easy thing to do for a large company and industry, which is why we’re seeing so much innovation coming from small, individual players, who aren’t tied to a legacy. But if an industry or company is going to survive, they will have to adapt and grow, otherwise face extinction. Where would we be if all the recording companies went out of business? I’d say we’d be just fine, because art doesn’t depend on such big companies to be produced. Producers of art don’t do so for the sake of the big companies, they do it because they have something offer and a way to offer it, and many are compelled to create their art.

The complaints about these big companies like RIAA, ASCAP and BMI that they are protecting artists’ rights is just absurd. No one has a given right to continue to receive payment for work done in the past, it’s just an artifact of the current system. It is a privilege, not a right. If one is good enough, one will find a way to make it work.

I look upon artists like Amanda Palmer, Marian Call, Jill Solbule, Jonathon Coulton, and many others as leading the way of this new wave. They have a very loyal and strong following and are not doing the big company way. Are these outliers? I don’t think so — I think they represent the new mainstream. Those savvy enough to take advantage of all the Internet has to offer and make a solid living with it. The big companies just get in the way. It is a fact that artists rarely made anything at all by signing with a record company. Instead they got an advance and ended up paying it back over and over again without relief. How’s that looking out for artists’ interests? It’s a big lie. The recording companies are looking out for no one’s interests but their own, and are as quick to screw artists as they are listeners and fans.

Christopher Bingham (profile) says:

Maybe artists sign with DMX...

…because they’ll actually get paid. Unless things have changed a whole lot since I was interested in affiliating with any of the PROs, the whole scam is based on exptrapolating plays based on a small sample ofmajor market commercial airplay. Which means if I get a few plays in Tacoma Lady Gaga gets my nickel. When you multiply that by 12,000 stations it starts to add up.

But wait, how will this “non-profit” make it’s “administrative” costs if it can’t shake down restaurants? hmmmm

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