On 18 May, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would appeal a September 2016 ruling and compel CMO BMI, to practice 100% licensing.
100% licensing applies to songs that have multiple writers. The DOJ believes that licensees only need one license from these songs to legally play the music. However, music publishers have always engaged in fractional licensing, meaning licenses from all of the songwriters involved are required.
In September last year, rate court judge Louis Stanton ruled that the consent decree does not require 100% licensing, much to music publishers relief. But the DOJ is now appealing this decision.
“It is unfortunate that the DOJ has decided to pursue its appeal of Judge Stanton’s decision, which so clearly and dramatically struck down the Department’s unworkable position of imposing 100% licensing,” NMPA President and CEO David Israelite said in a statement.
“We are confident in BMI’s ability to defend their position and that they will prevail on behalf of songwriters and music publishers. Everyone in the music industry understands that imposing additional burdens on songwriters, and upending the entire industry, is an undeserved punishment of America’s creators, not a solution," he added.