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
    Willton, 4 May 2008 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Weasley little sneak thieves STFU!

    The business models work. Many musicians are putting them in place and discovering it increases their ability to make money -- and to do so in a way that grows their audience and makes their fans more loyal.

    What's your problem with that?

    My problem is that this model only seems to work for musicians and artists. It does not explain how this is supposed to work for the songwriter.

    The focal point in each one of those examples is the performer of the content, like the musician. It does not say how this model benefits the content creator, like the songwriter. It seems to want to treat the content creator like a factory worker that can churn out material at a regular pace. I'm sorry, but if you're endorsing a model that turns the content creator into the proletariat, then I don't see how that will drive more people to become songwriters.

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