GMR/RMLC Antitrust Suit To Be Transferred To California

A federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has ruled in favor of Global Music Rights (GMR) against the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) in an antitrust suit brought by RMLC, ruling that “…this district is not a proper venue to adjudicate this matter.”

GMR has long held that the proper venue is the Central District of California where it is headquartered and does its work to collect royalties on behalf of its songwriters within the $18 billion commercial radio industry. GMR filed its own antitrust suit in California, alleging that the RMLC’s 10,000-member stations are improperly colluding to suppress payments to songwriters.

The ruling by United States District Court Judge C. Darnell Jones, II, largely affirms the sweeping 2017 report and recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Judge Lynne Sitarski that rejected every one of RMLC’s arguments for filing the antitrust suit in Pennsylvania – a state where neither organization has an office or any employees, where no represented songwriters or publishers live, and where no relevant meetings or business has ever taken place. The 2017 report concluded that the RMLC suit was filed in Pennsylvania solely for tactical advantage.

In ruling that the Central District Court of California is the appropriate venue for the case, Judge Jones also found that the RMLC improperly attempting to use the Interim License Agreement between the parties to justify jurisdiction in Pennsylvania.

“Global Music Rights is an innovator in music rights and a tireless defender of music creators. We are gratified with Judge Jones’ clear ruling that RMLC’s lawsuit was improperly filed in Pennsylvania,” said Daniel Petrocelli, GMR’s lead attorney. “That decision clears the path for Global Music Rights to prosecute its case in California against the RMLC for unlawful boycotting and pricing activity.”

“I am thrilled with today’s victory,” said GMR Founder Irving Azoff. “Now Global Music Rights gets to expose the radio cartel’s bullying tactics. It’s always worth the wait when artists win.”

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] | @EricTParker

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