On May 23, 2014, BMI and 84 other organizations and individuals filed submissions with the U.S. Copyright Office in response to the Office’s Notice of Inquiry for its Music Licensing Study. According to the Office, the study was initiated because although “the Copyright Act reflects many sound and enduring principles, and has enabled the internet to flourish, Congress could not have foreseen all of today’s technologies and the myriad ways consumers and others engage with creative works in the digital environment.”
The Notice posed 24 questions designed to “evaluate the effectiveness of existing methods of licensing music.” The questions covered the subjects of both compulsory licensing and licensing by performing rights organizations, as well as issues surrounding sound recordings and the current consent decrees governing BMI’s and ASCAP’s business practices.
As part of its initiative, the Office has been holding a series of public roundtables to offer an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the music licensing issues set forth in its Notice of Inquiry. Representatives of BMI attended first hearings in Nashville on June 4-5. BMI representatives are also attending the second roundtable, currently being held in Los Angeles, June 16-17. The final roundtables will be held in New York on June 23-24, with BMI Senior Vice Presidents Michael Steinberg and Stuart Rosen both participating as speakers. These are critical hearings, as they provide an opportunity for BMI to champion the cause of consent decree reform. Many of the issues addressed in these roundtable events will be presented by BMI and others to the U.S. Department of Justice, which is considering potential changes to BMI’s and ASCAP’s decrees.
Please visit our advocacy section often for updated news on this study as well as the Songwriter Equity Act of 2014 bills pending in Congress. BMI will continue to provide updates on our efforts to support your rights as music creators.