There have been some recent articles in several publications discussing a “civil investigative demand” – a kind of subpoena – served on BMI by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Some of these are not entirely accurate and may give you the wrong impression regarding this matter. I want to take a moment to clarify this recent development.
As you know, BMI is engaged in discussions with the DOJ regarding our proposal to modify our consent decree, which is our agreement with the government setting forth the rules under which we do business. Most of the decree is nearly 50 years old, and we believe it is critical that the decree be modernized to reflect a much different business environment than we faced in the mid-1960s.
As part of the DOJ’s review of BMI’s consent decree and proposal to make changes, the DOJ has issued its CID. The CID seeks documents and information from BMI. This is hardly a surprise – we expected to receive this document for the past year. Moreover, we consider this very good news – it means that the DOJ is moving forward with the process by which our decree will be reviewed and we are optimistic that it will be changed for the better. We look forward to responding to the DOJ’s inquiries.
There have also been reports in the press suggesting that BMI is the subject of an investigation regarding possible collusion with certain publishers. I want to stress that we have no reason to believe that the DOJ is investigating any such conduct by BMI.
Continued press coverage of the DOJ’s efforts will surface throughout the summer, particularly as we head towards the August 6 deadline set by the DOJ for the submission of public comments on whether the BMI and ASCAP decrees are serving their procompetitive purpose. It’s important to me that you receive accurate and reliable reports regarding this matter. We will keep you updated as BMI continues in our efforts to modernize the music licensing system to create one that better serves songwriters, publishers and businesses in today’s digital marketplace.