Connecticut Town Tells ASCAP, BMI, SESAC To Get Lost Over Royalty Bills

from the get-lost! dept

Three years ago, the town of New Milford, Connecticut got a bill from ASCAP demanding $280 in licensing fees, because the local town center sometimes will have music playing. Even at that amount, the mayor felt it was ridiculous, since it was a municipality playing music for non-profit community purposes. So the town council voted to ignore the bill, tabling it "indefinitely." As far as I know nothing else has happened between ASCAP and New Milford, but reader Bill Waggoner recently alerted us to the news that BMI and SESAC -- the other two collection societies in the US -- sent bills to New Milford as well. BMI's was a whopping $3,000. SESAC's was $1,500.

After being asked about it, BMI realized that it had made a "mistake" in calculating the bill, and lowered it to $305 (funny that they don't make mistakes in the other direction, do they?). However, the town council has told them to go take a hike. "They're not going to get that either" was the quote from council member Roger Szendy. The town's mayor, Patricia Murphy, says she's standing up for the principle of the whole thing, claiming that it's silly that a municipality should have to pay. BMI apparently says it's not going to sue, but it hopes that the city will "do the right thing."

I'm guessing that BMI (and ASCAP) realize it would be a public relations nightmare to sue a municipality, but if other cities start taking similar principled stands, you have to wonder if they'd reconsider.

Side Note: As regular readers know, it's our common practice to link to our source for information on stories. In this case, however, our main source is The News Times. I had the story about this open in my browser for a few days before getting around to writing it up. Then I discovered that The News Times locks up its content after a few days. So... I can no longer actually get to the article or send any traffic to the newspaper site. Perhaps I don't quite get the economics of news publishing, but I would imagine ad traffic from a bunch of our readers visiting their site would greatly outweigh the expected value of people actually paying $3 to read the article (yes, that's what they want). Oh well. I guess it's just their loss.

Filed Under: collections societies, connecticut, new milford
Companies: ascap, bmi, sesac

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  1. identicon
    1DandyTroll, 26 Jun 2009 @ 12:56pm

    Concerning Hobbits err BMI

    Six and a half million works tracked for 375 000 writers, composers, et cetera, comes down to about 17 works per head. Wow, imagine that a work load.

    For the fiscal year 2007/2008 BMI collected over 900 million dollars, which was an 8% increase over 2006/2007, which had an increase of 8% over the previous fiscal period.

    2007 BMI 'paid out' about, heh, 87.2%.
    2008 BMI 'paid out' about, oh lol, 87.7%.

    Hmm, I guess those about .5% represented that 8% increase.

    During the fiscal year of 2006/2007 BMI's scrapped over 12% of its overhead, crist imagine that, a not for profit (percentage stealing) organization 'having' to rationalize its own organization. (Guess it's a bitch when estates wants their own friggin money.)

    Oh I almost forgot, not, that BMI kept a bit more (actually about seven million more) then a hundred mill for the fiscal year 2006/2007. For 2007/2008 I guess they felt entitled to oh what looks to be quite close to an 8% increase, if you ask me (but of course there's a reason for why no one ever does).

    I dunno, mayb' they're just a bunch of good people in a very very bad place, because I didn't know the definition of modest, was, well, not so modest.

    It's a really interesting scheme though, especially considered where all that money, who lacks an recipient, ends up, that dough also got 'paid out' to a numbered account.

    And not to forget all the other organizations, IFPI wants it's 9 something percent (and you prolly guessed who that cash comes from in reality right), RIAA, DIMA, SESAC, NSAI, NMPA, SGA (I just put SGA in for a laugh, but if you walk all the way you'll get the point), and on it friggin goes, and don't forget the flat-rate monopolies, err, kind (sub) organizations that ya have to pay so they can let ya press yer shite on a CD, and of course they are kind enough to inform you that you really really really should register with their mother company, err not for profit organization, for a modest percentage fee, of course.

    Any one knows who collects and distribute all them protection money from pubs, clubs, and barber shops? (Oh, sorry, I ment the licensing fees.)

    It's quite astonishing how modest a profit is needed to administer a few million works, but I guess it's expensive to manage so many databases for the same crap.

    Consider CCC, and for the computer literate it's not that CCC, who kindly takes care of collecting fees for over 300 million works, or rights as they write. They only generate some 130 million dollars a year, since of last year, to the rights holders (for those that pay their homage that is), but still manage to take a 'modest" fee for 'em self, but, and this is the point it's not music not for profit kinda modest. And they operate planet wide. However, they of course think it is still a horrid situation, what with since not all authors seem to understand their kindness that they do, nor all the friggin companies, organizations, and governmental bodies, which would be most, that seem to not understand why they need to pay the protection charges, wooops, I mean license fees. According to CCC, like of course all the nice organizations surrounding music, it's because not everyone is yet educated, i.e. there's a shit load of us, per de facto, pirates, who still do not understand the import of coughing up money with every whim a certain industry get because you might use royally fucked peoples work. Oh crap, their I go again, I ment royalty based work. (Discalimer: I do not understand why, the above mentioned, CCC think they need to exist in a world where "their" kind of information is supposed to be free, nor do I condone their, however kind, administration.)

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the biggest argument that it would be much more easier, simpler, and cheaper if the federal state, and in some not so democratic countries, the state, didn't take care of the registration and database management, and collection?

    Another argument, if my memory serves me right, was that state governed registration and collection process, was like state monopoly, socialism, and people are supposed to have a choice, and 'em self can manage their own money. And besides, what if the state goes ape shit, then what, who's to protect these poor sods from the state, eh?

    Hurrah, hurrah. For we are liberals, yes? And did it not became easier, simpler, and cheaper, being forced to register with God only seem to know who, getting your money collected, manage, and later, hopefully, distributed to you? And of course it's always nice when someone else bothers with the whole stuff of protecting your rights, right, I mean other then the (federal) state. And all, and only, for a modest percentage, you know pretty damn like that evil little word spelled T, A, and X, hmm, wait a moment, per definition it is just that -- imposed charge, or levy, and you being a tax payer and all.

    Any who who knows who collect, manage, and, far from all the time, distribute all 'em greens from mp3 players, USB memory sticks, et cetera in ad absurdum?

    If your not such a, hmm how to put this in a nice way, crap I can't, let just say, if you blow at kissing arses, or just want a couple of cents too much, I can fully understand why you don't understand where all those hundreds of millions of dollars go. It's truly a wonder how fast money really can go ... poof.

    Ooops, I did it again, I'm so sorry I didn't mean to, I only saw that obnoxious comment by the, apparently, self proclaimed genius who think he gets paid fair and square for what he pay homage to. Friggin donkey's rump (not too shabby eh).

    Oh, yes, by the way, you still have to register with the federal state, or like in retarded democratic countries called kingdoms, the state, to actually get adequate protection for your works. It is actually true, for you know why there's a lot of dead presidents in numbered accounts, manage by all these ponze scheme organizations? (Claimer: and this is not just because it is crazy hard to find people when your not looking, but it is in their best interest. Literally. Neither is it like they go looking for your heirs, it's the other way around, which is kind of a paradox, you know like that modest administrative fee and what it is supposed to give you in return, when you think about it.

    Ok last note. Concerning SESAC, which is a for profit organization, which is strange, 'cause compared to all them not for profit organizations, shouldn't they make more profit?

    (And PS, of me BS. But what exactly was that form of socialism used in Italy way back when, when the state outsourced state functions to private organizations and companies, to make everything so much better?)

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