BMI President/CEO Mike O’Neill Champions Consent Decree Reform

BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill participated in an industry workshop this week organized by Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, US Department of Justice, to discuss consent decree reform.

In a recent open letter, O’Neill and ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews highlighted the four key protections that BMI and ASCAP put forth to facilitate an orderly transition to a free market, including a path to ultimate termination of the decrees. He also highlighted the need to avoid Congressional regulation of performing rights.

O’Neill also provided the following caution to the industry:

“We have to be vigilant. As we’ve seen, some organizations are using this moment to their advantage. Unregulated parties and licensees are using this review of our consent decree to try to increase regulations on BMI and ASCAP, not for the benefit of songwriters and composers, but we believe for their own benefit. Frankly, this is just amazing to me and completely contradictory to what the DOJ is trying to do overall with consent decrees. Issues like 100% licensing, length of songwriter contracts and similarly situated licenses are coming into play. Issues that are more about regulating the marketplace through our consent decrees than the actual consent decrees themselves.”

Mike Steinberg, BMI’s Executive Vice President of Creative & Licensing, took part in a subsequent panel on alternative licensing options. Steinberg made the case that the free markets, and not the consent decrees, spark innovation, competition and the ability to even further meet the diverse needs of our songwriters, composers, publishers and licensees.

Stuart Rosen, BMI’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel, also took part in a panel on Licensing to Music Users highlighting how BMI and ASCAP’s proposed changes to their decrees will provide pro-competitive benefits for the entire marketplace.

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Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at [email protected]

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