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
    Mike (profile), 4 May 2008 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, but I do think a journalist's work takes less creativity and is less risky than a songwriter's work.

    I know both journalists and songwriters who might disagree with that statement... but ok.

    The converse is true as to why record labels/artists/producers will not do the same for songwriters: employing songwriters entails taking on a lot of risk, and they likely are not willing to shell out the money for it unless the work sells.

    Ah, yes, but you're going back to the false assumption that we're *selling* music in this model. We are not.

    Even seasoned veteran songwriters write stinkers that won't sell.

    Just as seasoned journalists screw up an article every once in a while.

    The problem is that you seem to think that we can fit a square peg into a round hole.

    I don't know, the hole looks pretty square to me. I think it's only round because the gov't is shrinking it with artificial monopolies.

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