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
    Casey Howell, 1 May 2008 @ 7:46pm

    Wussy Artsy Fartsy Songwriters Complain Again Blah Blah Blah

    Lets face it the bulk of songwriters are overpaid for doing something they're going to do anyway. If your some nobody songwriter you'll gladly pay people to listen to your songs as songwriting and most art is a look at me industry. Why then do we all cower in fear when this nobody has become a somebody and feels we as listeners shouldn't listen to his attention grabbing diddy without him receiving a hefty royalty check? Don't these free-loaders of society get enough pocket change from us as fans from ticket sales,merchandise,cd sales,and radio airplay? What about piped in music at restaraunts,elevators, and just about every office anywhere? If I absolutely hate an artists song that I'm forced to listen to shouldn't I be recompensated? About time we stood up and shouted back if we can't hear your music for free to make an informed decision on a later purchase then quit writing your songs that you feel we should all listen to and quit your whining we're fed up with it. Why is a whole CD worth so much when at least half the tracks are just so much cannon fodder?

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