Uh Oh! ASCAP pays out $1.75 milllion fine to settle DOJ antitrust claims

Uh Oh! ASCAP pays out $1.75 milllion fine to settle DOJ antitrust claims

“Did Iiiiii do that??”
– Steve Urkel

If you’re ASCAP, and the “that” in question refers to violating a prior antitrust settlement, then according to the Department of Justice, yes, yes you did. You see, fans of family-friendly television, publishing rights, and justice, this past week ASCAP agreed to pay $1.75 million in fines and change their licensing practices after a DOJ investigation determined that the performing rights organization had around 150 illegal agreements with songwriters and publishers.

So what kind of wacky hijinks did our old pals at ASCAP get into? Well, ASCAP had some exclusivity provisions within said agreements that were less than kosher. Songwriters and publishers actually have the right to independently license their work to anyone, which is scary for PROs who could lose out on some serious cash. Uh oh!

The settlement agreement finds ASCAP’s current board of directors (consisting of 12 publishers and 12 composers and songwriters) remaining intact, although the publishers on the board cannot participate in approving the new licensing agreements. Tune in next week for more capers in the wild world of licensing!

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