DMX Wins Rate Court Lawsuit Against BMI

DMX, Inc., a leading provider of commercial music services, has won a rate court proceeding against performing rights organization BMI. On Monday (7/26), a federal district judge in New York ordered BMI to provide DMX with an adjustable fee blanket license that allows DMX to license music directly from music publishers and writers.

The decision could portend a shift of many more music performances out of the hands of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC and into direct licensing deals with publishers and writers. The decision could potentially change the landscape of performing rights in the US. The majority of music users currently use a blanket license from from either BMI, ASCAP or SESAC. The adjustable fee blanket license gives copyright owners the ability to directly license their own content and is expected to put pressure on performing rights organizations to reduce their fees and increase transparency in the face of this new competition.

Attorney R. Bruce Rich, who represents DMX, describes the court’s decision as “a gratifying affirmation of the role of the rate court as a means of establishing meaningful alternative license structures to the blanket license. The Court’s implementation of a sensible crediting mechanism against blanket license payments otherwise owing where a user such as DMX has made significant investments in direct licensing should have broad application for other industries.”

“We strongly disagree with the court’s decision in the DMX case, which ignores the long history of Performance Right Organization (PRO) licensing agreements in the background music industry,” BMI said in a statement. “We are examining the decision in depth and evaluating the basis for an appeal.”

For more on this decision…from Digital Music News


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