ASCAP Announces Settlement Agreement With U.S. Department of Justice

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ASCAP has reached a Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice with no finding of antitrust violations by ASCAP.

The Settlement Agreement addresses concerns expressed by the Department of Justice with exclusivity provisions that were included in some historical agreements with ASCAP members. The exclusivity provisions were never enforced and have been removed from all agreements.

The Settlement Agreement also concludes a review of the composition of the ASCAP Board of Directors by the Department of Justice. The Agreement maintains the current ASCAP Board of Directors structure of 12 songwriter/composer members and 12 music publisher members elected by the membership, while ensuring that publisher board members do not participate in the approval of new licensing agreements. The current structure of the Board of Directors has been in place for 95 years.

This Settlement Agreement clears the way for ASCAP and the Department of Justice to continue their discussions in connection with updates to the Consent Decree requested by ASCAP in order to reflect today’s digital music marketplace.

“Settling this matter was the right thing to do for our members,” said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. “With these issues resolved, we continue our focus on leading the way towards a more efficient, effective and transparent music licensing system and advocating for key reforms to the laws that govern music creator compensation.”

“We took immediate steps to resolve this matter and have strong controls in place moving forward,” said ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams. “This settlement enables ASCAP to focus on our mission of protecting the rights of music creators, who depend on us for their livelihoods, and to maintain our unique status as the only member-owned and governed performing rights organization in the U.S.”

The Settlement Agreement was approved by the ASCAP Board of Directors and is now subject to the approval of the ASCAP Federal Rate Court Judge.

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Craig Shelburne is the General Manager at MusicRow.

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