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Music Publishing News Roundup: Friday, August 5, 2016

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ASCAP and BMI have joined forces to release a statement against the Department of Justice’s decision to mandate 100% licensing.  BMI also announced that it was taking legal action to challenge the decision in Federal Court, while ASCAP is “tak[ing] the lead for the two PROs in pursuing a legislative solution to ensure the continued availability of fractional licensing as well as other remedies to the outdated consent decree regulations that disadvantage songwriters and composers in the digital age.”  In a letter to ASCAP members, President Paul Williams urged songwriters to stay united to fight the DOJ’s decision and lend their support to ASCAP and BMI initiatives.

The European Commission will allow Sony Corp to take 100% ownership of Sony/ATV worldwide, bolstering the major music company’s market power.  With the masters and the publishing that Sony controls, combined with its partial ownership of EMI Music Publishing, the EC approval sets Sony on track to quickly meet, or perhaps even surpass, UMG’s $5.7 billion combined publishing/master revenues last year.  President of the National Music Publishers Association, David Israelite expressed his concern, saying that this acquisition is in the best interests of recorded music rather than songwriters, and that Sony Music is “driven by an outdated mindset that somehow if songwriters get less from digital music services there will be more for [its] record label.”

SESAC and Swiss PRO SUISA have created Mint Digital Licensing, a joint venture that will license and administer rights for the use of both of their repertoires on digital services.  The initiative is in response to the European Commission’s wish for cooperation among music rights organizations to enable users to negotiate licenses with as few companies as possible.  This new joint venture will allow for better data management, improved transparency, and faster royalty payments, as SESAC advances in its “plan to build a multi-regional licensing platform at scale.”

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