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.

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  1. identicon
    Iron Chef, 1 May 2008 @ 6:17pm

    Too many hands in the cookie jar

    Geez. I ran into this a looong time ago.

    So my High School was one of the first in the nation that produced a CD Yearbook, and one of the first that also produced a Video Yearbook. I was somehow was roped into being a Technology Editor.

    I learned more in those few years about the sillyness of ASCAP/BMI rights as well as "Mechanical Reproduction" Rights.

    We had ASCAP rights. To be safe, we decided to hire a coverband for the songs we wanted.

    So we never could get Mechanical because the fucking jackasses wouldn't call me back for an address to send a check to.

    God Damn you RIAA, your partners, and everyone associated. God damn you and the horse you rode in on. You claim it's all about the artists, but...

    Could you even provide an address to send a check to?

    Nope.

    I would be happy to testify in court my experiences with working in this god forsaken industry.

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