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
    Vincent Clement, 1 May 2008 @ 9:00pm

    Re: Re:

    Shouldn't the person recording the song pay the songwriter a fee or a percentage of their royalties?

    When you play a song you are, in essence, publishing a copy of that song

    That is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever read. So I have to pay to BUY the song. Then I have to pay to PLAY the song.

    Imagine buying a car from GM. And then having to pay GM for driving the car. But wait, even though the car you bought included tires, Goodyear also wants their cut from that driving.

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