TV Broadcasters Suing Songwriters' Org SESAC Over Pricing Power
from the tug-o'-war dept
Of course, the real "monopoly" here is copyright. At a quick glance, it certainly looks like SESAC is doing exactly what copyright allows -- but the structure of licensing for syndicated TV content allows SESAC to make life difficult for the broadcasters. So, I'm not really sure SESAC should really be faulted here, as it seems to be doing exactly what it was enabled to do thanks to overly broad copyright laws. At the same time, it also makes you wonder why the broadcasters don't go back to the TV program owners themselves and demand that they bundle the music performance rights as well, since there's more negotiating power there. So, while it does seem unfair for the broadcasters as the market is currently structured, I'm not sure it's an antitrust violation on SESAC's part. More a problem with how the industry licenses are set up, combined with copyright being way too broad in such situations.
There's also a separate interesting element to this lawsuit -- which is why it's SESAC being sued rather than ASCAP and BMI. ASCAP and BMI are both already limited due to previous antitrust fights and consent decrees against them, whereas SESAC has been more or less free to act this way. Either way, it's yet another lawsuit concerning aggressive use of copyright to try to demand as much money as possible, even for music that is a small part of an overall presentation of content.