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. icon
    PaulT (profile), 2 May 2008 @ 12:36am

    Re: Some people are pathetically clueless (especially "Not Clueless")

    "To all the people griping about having to pay for music, whether to the songwriter or performer, do you do your job for free?

    If you don't like someone's music, don't pay for it. But don't steal it either. "

    Ah, the same old idiotic FUD...

    Nobody minds paying the songwriter or performer. We don't expect them to do the work for free. This isn't about piracy, it's about radio.

    Let me break this situation down for you. The performers and songwriters HAVE ALREADY BEEN PAID for the music under their normal contracts. This lawsuit is about introducing an additional licence so that they can be paid AGAIN for the SAME work.

    I don't expect them to work for free. I also don't think they should be paid multiple times for the same piece of work just because people have found a different way of enjoying it. What's especially dumb is that this could help the decline of web radio, cutting off a valuable promotional channel that helps drive record sales.

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