District Court Tells Yahoo, AOL To Pay Millions To Songwriters

from the watch-for-the-appeal dept

In the latest of many arguments about the various rights and payments companies need to pay for streaming music online, a district court has ruled that AOL, Yahoo and RealNetworks most likely owe millions to ASCAP for songs that they streamed to users between 2002 and today (and continuing on to 2009). This has nothing to do with the record labels -- ASCAP represents the songwriters -- but is yet another extraneous "license" where the terms are hardly clear, but basically serve to make it more difficult for anyone to play music. It was never in question that these sites would need to pay some kind of royalty -- the question was how much. The odd part of this ruling, though, is that the rate set by the judge is likely to be higher than the rate that traditional terrestrial radio pays. If there ever were a formula for making companies less interested in streaming music online -- this might be it. Of course, it's quite likely that this ruling will be appealed, so it's far from over.

Filed Under: ascap, compulsory licensing, royalties, songwriters
Companies: aol, realnetworks, yahoo


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2008 @ 8:14pm

    Weasley little sneak thieves STFU!

    Although your comments are meant to be hyperbolic and are in fact ridiculous I would make one comment. Nothing in the culture provides more value to more people than songs. Cars are sold based on the MP3 players (but songwriters make nothing on the MP3 players or the cars)In fact everything you buy is sold with a soundtrack...

    In terms of songwriters getting overpaid for doing something they are going to do anyway, you are simply showing your ignorance here... 1st songwriters make practically nothing, I know because I have millions of records sold on songs I wrote and I am not rich... in fact I'm living like a Buddhist monk just to survive. And 2nd, because people have continued to steal the music instead of paying for it I
    have left the profession... along with all the other songwriters I know... So from now on you can write your own fucking songs... you weasley little sneak thieves.

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