DOJ Slams RMLC For Misstating the Law and Urges Judge to Reject RMLC’s Position
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In a victory for songwriters, the U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on behalf of Global Music Rights (GMR) in its lawsuit against the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC) and urged a federal court to reject RMLC’s attempts to misconstrue the laws that prohibit anticompetitive price-fixing.
In a starkly worded filing on Thursday, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division stated that “Competitors’ naked agreements to fix prices” – as practiced by the RMLC – “are one of the most pernicious forms of anticompetitive restraints that violate Section 1 of the Sherman Act.” DOJ dismantled the RMLC’s arguments to defend paying songwriters below-market rates and called on the court to reject the core RMLC arguments in the litigation.
“The court filing by the Department of Justice reaffirms the legal position of GMR and vindicates the rights of artists and songwriters to be free from illegal price-fixing by radio stations,” said Daniel Petrocelli, lead counsel for Global Music Rights.
The statement of interest from the nation’s chief antitrust enforcer is a setback for the RMLC – a 78-year-old group that dominates the $22 billion terrestrial radio industry – and a significant win for GMR and all songwriters. GMR has consistently maintained that members of the RMLC suppress rates paid to songwriters and composers for the public performance of their work.
“Today is a great day for artists, who have been bullied by the RMLC since the dawn of the modern radio industry,” said GMR founder Irving Azoff. “Advocating on behalf of artists is our founding principle, and we refused to allow this unfair status quo to continue. We believe the days of this brazen, long-running cartel are now numbered. GMR has never been prouder to stand with songwriters to fight back.”
Founded in 2013, GMR is the newest and most innovative player in the stagnant industry of performance rights licensing. GMR takes a fresh approach to licensing the performances of songs written by a small roster of popular songwriters, such as Drake, Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, the Eagles, and Smokey Robinson. The work of these artists drives radio stations’ revenue and profit, but songwriters receive just a tiny slice of the revenue they create for radio stations.
For over half a century, the RMLC has been the vehicle that the radio industry’s horizontal competitors have used to suppress prices, to the detriment of songwriters. GMR filed suit against the RMLC in 2016 to challenge their stranglehold over the $22 billion radio industry.
About Global Music Rights
Global Music Rights is an innovative performance rights organization (PRO) founded in 2013. GMR is a boutique PRO committed to transparency, concierge service and the empowerment of songwriters. For more information, visit www.globalmusicrights.com.
Depending on availability, GMR Founder Irving Azoff and Lead Counsel Daniel Petrocelli may be available for media interviews.